How Using a DNA Kit Can Inspire a Healthy Lifestyle

Being curious about our origins is not a new thing. For centuries people have built their family trees from knowledge passed down through the generations or information acquired from official records. But it is only with the emergence of the home DNA kit that we have begun to consider the potential health benefits of exploring the secrets contained in our genes. And already, more than twelve million people have taken advantage of this new tool.

Identifying Susceptibility to Disease through DNA Testing

We already know that many medical conditions are hereditary, some skipping a generation while others manifest themselves only in members of one sex or another. Knowing that hereditary factors bring an increased risk of sustaining certain conditions can help us to take evasive action to minimize the risks thereby presented.

DNA sampling can be used to discover any vulnerability to illness, which can emanate either from a specific family line or from a broader ethnic susceptibility. Certain companies such as 23andMe are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to check for specific genes which relate to certain diseases or illnesses, and to relay information to customers about particular mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. The FDA itself takes a keen interest in genetic compatibility issues which can be used to develop new treatments for such things as blood disorders.

The purpose of genetic testing is not to diagnose the presence of illness and disease, but to provide sufficient information as to the likelihood of it manifesting itself to enable precautionary or preventative measures to be taken where necessary.

There is a wealth of information online offering sometimes competing insights into which test kit is the best. Generally speaking a more pertinent question might be how much information is the test kit that you have opted for providing. In truth there are different levels of service, and as a rule of thumb the more you pay the more information is available to you.

Should Your Lifestyle Be Determined by Genetics?

You would not wish your pattern of life today to be determined by the genes of your forefathers. All the same, if there was a high incidence of a certain serious medical condition in your family history then it would perhaps be advisable to take whatever steps modern medicine makes available to minimize the risks.

We know for example that the risks of developing some cancers can be increased by the consumption of certain foods or by social behaviors such as smoking or drinking to excess (the American Cancer Society points out that 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are the direct consequence of smoking). Whilst we should all endeavor to minimize the risks, a person who has a genetic predisposition towards that particular cancer, either though ethnicity or family history, might be more inclined to make the necessary lifestyle adjustments.