Our cells are composed of genetic materials that control everything inside and help them to respond effectively to the outer environment. Every cell has this genetic material called DNA that splits up into smaller units called genes. Genes are the building blocks of the DNA, and they play a role in regulating particular traits from eye color to face shape and body height, etc. Any alteration in the genetic code of DNA can cause disease, missing components inside the cell, or the death of a cell.
Genes have the unique ability to get transmitted from parents to their offspring. Children with their genes also share some genes from their parents that carry specific traits; for example, you may have beautiful brown hair like your mom.
These traits are hereditary because they move from one generation to another. Similarly, you may also inherit peculiar genes from your ancestors that contribute to a genetic illness, for example, Huntington’s disease, hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, etc.
Consult your healthcare provider to determine if you have an increased risk of common hereditary illnesses. He will look into your family history, prevention techniques, tenure of the disease, and possible treatment options.
If you are interested to learn about how you can deal with hereditary illnesses, here are some ways you can:
Gather some knowledge:
Understanding genes and their functions are crucial to finding more about hereditary illnesses. Hence, public health experts must take the help of statistical geneticists to improve public health outcomes.
Statistical genetics is a subbranch of biostatistics in health care. It uses statistical methodologies and techniques to tabulate and understand genetic data. How different genes change common traits, evolve, and present themselves in various populations and how they affect a particular health condition.
Inferences drawn from these studies help clinicians recognize people susceptible to genetic illnesses and make preventable treatment possible.
Get regular screening for the disease:
If you have a hereditary disease in your family, consider getting regular screenings at the hospital to check for the possible signs and symptoms of the disease in your body.
Regular screening of organs is crucial to rule out the incidence of any disease. In addition to that, it will also provide an early diagnosis of the illness. According to Pomona Valley Health Centers, regular checkups increase lifespan, improve health, and raise the chances of treatment and cure.
The checkup for confirmation of genetic illness is pretty simple. Your doctor will draw up a blood sample and run it through a couple of molecular markers specific for genetic diseases.
Follow a healthy diet:
Eating a healthy diet will reduce the possibility of disease significantly. According to WHO, a healthy diet helps to protect against diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and cancer. According to MD Anderson Cancer Center, a plant-based diet reduces your risk of cancer and mental illnesses. A plant-based protein diet is also helpful in maintaining ongoing heart health.
A healthy eating plan will give your body the required nutrients while staying within your daily calorie requirement. It includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, a limited amount of saturated and trans fats, salt, and sugar.
In a study by NCBI, individuals with a healthy lifestyle had 46% fewer coronary diseases events than individuals with an unhealthy lifestyle. Moreover, a BioImage study states that individuals with a favorable lifestyle had less coronary artery calcification in each genetic-risk category.
Therefore, a healthy diet is crucial to stay fit and prevent genetic diseases.
Do regular exercise:
Do you want to feel better, live longer, and have energy? Just exercise. Exercise has many benefits for the body and mind. It helps you control weight, improve your mood and sleep, boosts energy, and reduces the risk of several diseases.
According to a study by Stanford researchers, people with high fitness levels had a lower risk of getting heart disease, even among those at genetic risk. Another journal BMC Springer, states that genes play a role in exercise; high physical activity and aerobic fitness are prognosticators of low cardio-morbidity and mortality.
Hence, a nutritionally healthy diet and exercise will reduce your risk of genetic illnesses and improve your quality of life.
Avoid smoking and alcohol:
Several people think smoking and drinking are fashionable. The media has also portrayed them as appealing habits to the viewers. However, in reality, smoking and alcohol can cause serious health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarettes are responsible for every one in five deaths in the US.
Moreover, cigarettes contain 4000 chemicals that are highly addicting and carcinogenic, causing damage to organs; for example, eyes, lungs, brain, muscles, bones, liver, etc. It also leads to mutations in the genes. According to CBS News, a team of London researchers found out that smoking can alter 7000 genes in the DNA and cause smoking-related diseases.
Alcohol is also atrocious for the body. According to CDC, there is no safe amount of alcohol for the body. Alcohol has both long-term and short-term effects on the body. Short-term effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, euphoria, etc.
Long-term effects include a weak immune system, problems with memory and concentration, insomnia, anxiety, etc. According to NIH, alcohol causes brain shrinkage, atrophy of the brain, neurodegenerative changes, and cognitive decline similar to Alzheimer’s disease.
Another study by the National Institute of Health states that alcohol use has a possible link to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Alcohol also causes alcoholism, a complex genetic disorder, as published in NCBI.
Thus, cutting down on smoking and alcohol from your life can increase your lifespan and reduce your risk of genetic disorders.
Talk to a professional: genetic counselor:
The best way to deal with a genetic illness is to talk with a professional: a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor will determine your family history and evaluate the probability of getting a hereditary disease. Depending on the intensity of your risk, the genetic counselor will recommend genetic testing, preventive medications, and any surgeries, or if you need more screening and inspection.
Genetic counselors help you understand the factors that may affect your immediate family, including your children. The chances of a hereditary disease increase by 50% if both parents have the disease or gene. Therefore, you and your family must get genetically tested to prevent genetic illnesses.
Genetic illnesses occur due to malfunctioning genes, missing genes, or altered genes that parents transfer to their offspring. If you are susceptible to a hereditary disease or are diagnosed with one, it would be best to get regular checkups. Maintain your diet and exercise, get genetic testing and find a diagnostic and treatment option tailored for your disease.
Hence, simple ways and lifestyle changes can help rule out the possibility of disease or assist you in finding the perfect treatment center in the early stages of the illness.