Health and Genetics

Clinical genetics, from a patient’s standpoint, means that the professional team caring for a patient may be aware of a genetic possibility, and that they have the ability to apply it in diagnosing and in treatment.  This is important and it will help the patient understand the role genetics plays in the onset and continuance of their disease.

But most of all, clinical genetics will be most valuable in alerting family members to the  possibilities of future diseased conditions. With this foreknowledge of what could happen, cautions could be put in place that will avert much of the sting of the diseased condition when it does arise.

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) believes that doctors and health care workers should, “discover, educate, advocate.” Along with Genetic Alliance, they have put together guidelines for “for the general public, health care providers, and their patients.”

These guidelines will show what has been discovered concerning newfound information about genetics itself and how it relates to specific diseases. They will make possible screenings for newborn assessment, how to understand the importance of collecting family histories, and, in general, show and explain the various types of available genetic tests and how to use them effectively.

Patients who are searching for a doctor would do well to consider those who are relying on the knowledge gained by the efforts of others who mapped the genes during the genome project or DNA sequencing.

Genetics will help patients in many ways, one of which is in colon cancer screenings. The Lynch Syndrome, an inherited condition where about three percent of colon cancer is of this type, is one such recent discovery. But not only that, the experts say that genetics play some part in nine of the ten deadliest diseases, or the ten most common causes of deaths.

Heart disease is the first on the list. A survey of how many ancestors who died from a cardiac arrest, or congestive  heart failure, or some other heart condition, could well show patients that they too may have inherited this possibility. This information, along with other facts about how to deal with the  inherent weaknesses, will help meet the heart condition with preventative measures to prevent its onset, or its advance.

Cancer is the second most frequent cause of death, then stroke, respiratory diseases, accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, nephritis and other kidney problems, and finally septicemia, or blood toxicity. Genetics play a role in all of these with exception of accidents. And in some random, off-handed way, even this may prove to have some kind of genetic foreboding. That is, a recklessness as a familial character trait, a propensity for alcoholism, or some other psychological family trait.

Genetics is an infant where knowledge and usefulness is concerned. Yet by its very nature, it is destined to become the most useful tool of preventative medicine of the future. Genetic testing is the current stage that is developing most rapidly. An online genetic tools site is most helpful in previewing what is available for clinicians. This is an excellent place to discover what is now being used, how to educate workers and patients, and how to advocate for better health care through genetic testing and awareness.

Important questions are asked; How important is genetic testing to good health? When should the diagnostician be concerned with genetic possibilities? They educate as to the different types of inherited tendencies, and ask about the differences between single-gene disorders or multifactorial disorders; autosomal dominant vs. an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance; how x linked disorders work; and what is a chromosomal abnormality?

An important tool for diagnosis of a genetic link to an illness, is seeing that red flag that signals a possibility. When and how does one suspect a person has a disease or condition inherited from genes of their parents?

Yes, there are untold ways genetics can create a society where better health care is possible, where it is less expensive, and where most of the unknowns have been removed. At present, the best tools are in the hands of those who rely on genetics. Inheritance can no longer be ruled out simply by guess work; evidence of it is printed in the DNA of every person.