You can protect your health by knowing our genetic predispositions?
I believe that genetics is one of the most exciting ‘keys’ to understanding health and disease. The full mapping of the human genome (DNA sequence) was completed in 2003. This is HUGE amounts of information, and geneticists continue to study how our genes determine whether we ‘catch’ a particular disease or not.
We can easily understand that our height, eye colour and skin tone are determined by genetics, but what about other differences we notice between people. Have you ever wondered why some people live longer than others? Why some people get side effects from medication while others don’t? Why some people can drink more alcohol than others? (and not get a hang over!). Why some people can smoke till the age of 100 years (like George Burns) and not get lung cancer? The answer might very well be in our genetic make up!
Essentially, each of us is a mixture of the strengths and weaknesses of our parents and their parents etc. This means that even though we all have ‘human DNA’ we have different genetic tendencies or predispositions. This, teamed up with many factors in our environment and upbringing determine how likely we are to develop certain illnesses – such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is an extremely interesting area of study called Epigenetics – how the environment (how we live, toxins, diet etc.) influences whether certain genes are expressed (turned on) or not. There are many different genes for the big diseases, but the good news is that many of the moderate and low penetrance genes are modifiable – so just because you have a particular gene mutation, it is not guaranteed that you will definitely get the illness. Therefore, if you are forewarned, you you can make changes in your lifestyle to avoid disease.
We all know that prevention is better than cure. This is why I am please to associate myself with a South Africa company called Geneway. Geneway offers a number of very comprehensive genetics panels, the one I am most excited about is the Genewell Test. This test screens for many genes that affect a persons health tendencies, particularly bone health, cancer risk, cholesterol, heart disease, metabolism, drug sensitivity, heart disease, blood pressure, inflammation, insulin resistance and diabetes, etc. It is a simple cheek swab that can be done in the rooms and offers good value for money, which is why I am happy to be an accredited Geneway provider.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me to find out more.