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So you know a general family history of what diseases you may be more likely to have based on what your parents have told you. Yet, you still feel wary about not really knowing your likelihood of contracting those diseases.
The information you’ve gathered has been pieced together through stories, anecdotes, and other family members’ experiences, so it’s a bit foggy. None of it is 100 percent confirmed to be a part of your individual genetic makeup, either.
Thankfully, you can use a genetic test to determine your risk.
Genetic tests scan for certain illnesses or conditions, and assess the likelihood you’ll develop them or pass them on to your children. It is a simple way to get prepared for your future (or your children’s futures).
Read on to learn more about genetic testing, and if it’s something you might want to consider to stay updated on your own health and genetic makeup.
Why You Should Get a Genetic Test
Even if you know your grandfather or aunt or cousin has a genetic condition like anemia or cystic fibrosis, you can’t really use that information to determine your own risk.
Further, if you have or are planning to have kids, they may be at risk for expressing a genetic mutation that you are only a carrier of.
Some people are able to receive an early diagnosis through genetic cancer testing. Or, they are able to decide on the most effective treatment method by understanding what is compatible with their genes.
So while genetic testing isn’t mandatory to maintain your health, you could say it has a high potential to be life-saving when you need it most.
Different Types of Genetic Testing
The genome is a vast expanse of tiny pieces that compose each chromosome into a complete set. As a result of this, it is difficult to test for every possible genetic mutation, deletion, or what-have-you with a single test.
However, you can pretty easily cover the essentials when considering whether getting a genetic test is right for you.
There is genetic testing for cancer risk, newborns, and pregnant people. Or, you can get tested as presymptomatic for a condition that has yet to show up.
Genetic testing is a good step towards identifying your susceptibility to many different conditions. These include psoriasis, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and even a rare inflammatory disease called Birdshot Chorioretinopathy.
If you want to learn more about that last one, you can look here.
Should You Get a Genetic Test?
It’s crucial to stay up-to-date on your health risk for various conditions and diseases. There could be something lurking in your genome that hasn’t been an expressed gene in your parents’ or grandparents’ lives.
However, there is understandably a cost barrier for learning about your genetic makeup. It can vary based on the complexity and expanse of the test desired. The genetic testing cost can be under 100 dollars, or as expensive as 2000 dollars.
It’s up to you to decide what is worth knowing about your genes. What information will be relevant to your lifestyle? What realities are you willing to face if the worst kinds of results come back?
If there is a specific condition you’re worried about developing, like cancer, you can focus on genetic cancer testing to assess your risk.
Final Questions to Ask
If you’re still on the fence about getting a genetic test, focus on the most concerning parts of your family history first. That should be a priority for your future health.
At the very least, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to prepare or face anything that comes your way.
At best, you can continue on with a bit of peace that you’re body isn’t plotting any cruel surprise for your future. Choose knowledge and preparation over bliss and ignorance. For more helpful information like this, check out our other health articles.