DNA or genetic health testing has been becoming increasingly popular in recent years with readily-available, inexpensive home test kits. People are now able to order a kit online and in the comfort of their homes figure out what genetic mutations they may have that could cause health problems at some point in their lives.
What is DNA health testing, and what are its benefits? If you’re interested in learning more about this popular testing read on for more information.
What is DNA Health Testing?
DNA testing is a medical test for identifying genetic changes that have been passed on from our parents to us, and most likely we will pass them on to our children. These changes, which are called pathogenic variants are manifested in different diseases.
Genetic tests analyze our DNA, the genetic material that our cells are made up of. This DNA makes up specific features and helps our bodies to function in certain ways. Most of the cells in our bodies are a complete set of genes, which are instructions for how our bodies work.
Those genes can be found strung on a structure called a chromosome. When there is a change or mutation in a copy of one gene or chromosome it stops working properly and causes a genetic condition. Examples of these genetic conditions can include Down’s syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
DNA testing helps to identify those changes in genes or chromosomes through a blood or tissue test. These tests can be self-administered or done through a doctor.
Why Get a DNA Health Test?
There is a variety of reasons why you would want to get a DNA health test. These include:
• Having a child who has learning, developmental, or health problems
• Having a family member with a genetic condition, and you want to know if you are at high risk for the same condition
• Confirming a doctor’s suspicion of a genetic condition
• You want to know if you or your partner could have a genetic condition that you would pass on to your children
• Having a stillbirth or a miscarriage
• A pregnancy test showing your child has a genetic condition
• Having several relatives with cancer
• Ethnic background possibly causing particular genetic conditions
Benefits of DNA Health Testing
Whether you are unsure about getting a DNA health test or are ready to get one, knowing the benefits can help you make a decision. The benefits of DNA testing are many.
• DNA testing can be the only way to make accurate diagnoses for a lot of disorders.
• Testing helps avoid unnecessary clinical investigations
• It gives a doctor the choice of the most suitable solution for a patient’s problem.
• It allows you to find out if you are at risk for certain diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
• Getting tested for genetic mutations can allow you to have good surveillance and intervene early if you or someone in your family shows symptoms.
• Testing can give you and your family relief if there has been an unsolved health issue.
• If you know you have a genetic condition you can get your unborn child tested as well, so you are prepared for it.
• It can be useful to other family members and can help them from being misdiagnosed.
Get Informed About What You’re Seeing
If you’re interested in finding out what genetic mutations might run in your family, DNA health testing is a great way to start. You can easily take control of your health and your future with this information.
If and when you get a DNA health test, make sure to look over your results carefully, and always show them to your doctor. Results can be confusing, especially if you don’t have any medical background, so to avoid getting unnecessarily scared by your results make sure to consult your doctor.