We all need to know more about where we come from, but did you know that your family history could impact the diagnosis for a current or future disease? It’s true. We all have ancestors with certain genetic mutations passed down through the generations, which can affect our health today. In this article, I will talk about how knowing your ancestry can help combat some diseases in the future!
Here is How Family History Impacts Future Diagnosis:
One of the big ways that family history can impact future diagnosis is through genetic testing. If you have a high or even moderate risk for a genetic mutation, your doctor might recommend tests to see if you already have it. These tests include things like BRCA and other breast cancer genes, Huntington’s disease, and many others. You could be diagnosed years before symptoms start appearing. Sometimes genetics isn’t the same thing as ancestry – but knowing more about either one can help lead to early diagnosis down the road. For example, gene mutations happen through random chance during replication over time within our bodies (also known as somatic mosaicism), so being related to someone with an illness doesn’t mean that you will automatically get it too. But, knowing your family history can assist you and your doctor know what to look for in the future.
The risk of hereditary diseases is something that your doctor can easily talk to you about. If you have a strong family history, they might refer you for genetic counseling – this way, the disease risks are explained in more detail, and early testing options are discussed. Knowing your ancestry can help decrease future diagnosis through prevention. Many cancer-causing mutations aren’t found until they cause major damage within our bodies – but what if we could stop them before it happens? Researchers are looking into ways to do just that by reversing mutated genes back to their original function (also known as gene therapy). This means that not only will people with these mutations be able to avoid getting cancer down the road, but others who may carry the mutation won’t either.
Family history can impact future diagnosis in other ways too. For example, if you have a family history of diabetes or are at high risk for developing it yourself, your doctor might test you earlier than they would otherwise. This is because some genetic mutations make people more likely to develop Type II Diabetes down the road. If caught early enough, this disease may be preventable with lifestyle changes and medical treatment, and symptoms like swelling can be fought with compression gear. Thankfully it’s pretty easy to buy diabetic socks online. That being said – knowing about these risks allows us to ensure we don’t put ourselves at higher risk by doing things like smoking cigarettes or eating an unhealthy diet.
The last way your family history can impact current and future diagnosis is by sharing information. If you know who in your family has certain illnesses, donate their medical records to a specific database for research purposes! This might help lead researchers to discoveries or treatments down the road – which could ultimately end up helping hundreds (or even thousands) of people with similar conditions.
All of us can help fight illnesses, all across the world, by simply donating our family’s medical records to a specific research study! This is something that anyone with an ancestor who has had an illness can do – because it doesn’t require you or your relative to have symptoms currently. Donating these records could be one easy way for researchers to find new treatments and cures.
How Can Monitoring Be Helpful?
If you have a strong family history of cancer or other hereditary diseases, it is important to keep track of these diseases as they appear and reappear within your own family. For example, if someone in one generation has breast cancer, the next (and possibly subsequent) generations should be aware that this risk exists for them too. This way, we can monitor ourselves more closely – through screenings, lifestyle changes, and even preventative surgery. The more you know, the more you can fight against. So what are you waiting for? Start learning about where your ancestors come from today so that you can take care of yourself down the road.