3 Ways DNA Testing Can Shed Light on Your Health
A lot has been written about how home DNA testing can change the way you think of yourself. There are those who believe everyone should try a DNA kit as they’ll learn how interrelated we all are. Others worry that they might do the opposite and undermine a person’s heritage. Whatever your opinion on the subject, there is another significant reason you should try DNA testing. Ancestry and health DNA testing kits can shed light on your health in a few ways. Here are the 3 instances in which DNA testing can help you live a longer, healthier life.
Major illnesses like cancer are very difficult to prevent. You can live an incredibly healthy life, and still contract cancer. These diseases are genetic, which means you are predisposed to them no matter how you approach life. The fact that these illnesses are genetic means that DNA tests can pick up any existing predispositions to them. While this won’t necessarily prevent them from happening, it does provide you with the opportunity to go for regular check-ups. Early diagnosis is known to vastly increase recovery rates. This is particularly true in the case of an illness like pancreatic cancer, which is generally asymptomatic until it is too late to treat. Naturally, you can’t prepare for every illness, but DNA testing will point you in the right direction when it comes to the types of diseases you need to look out for. Regular check-ups, along with a lifestyle that lowers your chances of contracting the illness, can literally save your life. But it’s not just your life that’s at stake.
Your children’s health
There are many genetic illnesses which you can carry without ever knowing it. They may not present any issues for you throughout your lifetime. However, you may pass them onto your children. If you have kids with another carrier of the disease, there is a high chance your children will contract this disease. Don’t assume that just because your parents and grandparents experienced no major problems the same will apply to you. Genetic predispositions can skip multiple generations. Only a DNA test will reveal these predispositions, so never rely purely on anecdotal evidence from other family members. By detecting that you’re a carrier through DNA testing, you can take steps to prevent this from happening, through IVF and alternative options. This can protect your children from immense pain, as genetic diseases can be debilitating and devastating. It is especially important to find out if you are the carrier of any diseases if you are marrying someone from the same background as you. For older children, you may also want to perform a DNA test so you can spot any genetic diseases they may have in the future. Not all genetic diseases show symptoms during the first few years of life. By knowing about the potential risks, you can prepare for the future without risking any nasty surprises should your child be unlucky enough to show the signs of genetic disease as they grow up. It may be scary and painful to deal with this, but through a DNA test you’ll be able to take preventative steps going forward.
Another way in which DNA tests can provide information about your health is by putting you in touch with relatives you didn’t know existed. Anyone who is a potential relative who has also sent in their DNA will be linked with you, and you can choose whether to meet them. In addition to the excitement of meeting new family members, you can also find out about any illnesses that have been prevalent within their side of the family. Along with what you already know about your own family and genetics, this information can give you a very strong idea of what you need to look out for. Family is also good for your health. If you have very few immediate or extended family members, finding your place within your wider family can be not only satisfying, but good for you! You also need to consider not everyone has a close-knit family. First generation immigrants, for example, may have limited information on their wider family. Orphans, those with smaller families, and those who are estranged from family members may have limited information on genetic diseases. In the absence of anecdotal information, DNA testing is the next best thing. This can not only be helpful for you in planning your future health but also if you plan on starting a family of your own in the future. DNA testing is so powerful because not only can you find out more about your own health but also the health of your family. The results of your DNA test can aid you in planning your future and the future of your family!