One of the hottest topics today in the field of medicine is genetic testing. When appropriate, this type of test is a powerful tool that can determine your likelihood of developing a serious health condition. On the surface, genetic testing seems like a no-brainer.
You simply need to provide a sample of your saliva or blood. Your sample can offer important clues to possible genetic defects in your body. It can also help doctors predict future health problems you might experience, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
This is a type of medical test meant to identify changes in one’s proteins, chromosomes, or genes. The results of genetic screening can rule out or confirm a suspected genetic disorder. They can also help determine one’s chances of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. Currently, more than 77,000 genetic tests are in use and scientists are working hard to develop others.
There are numerous types of tests meant to analyze genetic changes or disorders. If you choose to get genetic screening, your doctor will consider several factors before recommending the appropriate tests for you. Some of the most common genetic tests include:
Molecular tests to check for changes in one or more genes
Chromosomal tests to look for chromosomal changes or abnormalities
Biochemical tests to analyze the activity level of enzymes or proteins produced from genes
Gene expression tests to look at expressed genes in different types of cells
Put into practice, the topic of genetic screening is more complicated and nuanced than most people realize. After all, the results of the screenings might not be what many people expect or want to hear. This is especially so for people who discover an inherited genetic mutation that puts them or their offspring at risk.
Consider that each parent contributes 50 percent to an offspring’s DNA. This means that two siblings can have significantly different test results. The emotional component of genetic screening is easy to understand and process. However, the science behind it can be difficult to process.
For example, imagine your little one developed a serious health condition because you passed it down. This could produce some inevitable, though unnecessary, feelings of guilt. Nevertheless, there is power in knowledge. Genetic testing can push you to be more proactive about your health or your child’s health.
Currently, genetic screenings are voluntary. This is because they have benefits, disadvantages, and risks. Whether or not you should get a genetic screening is a personal and complex decision. Are you trying to decide whether to undergo this type of screening? If so, a genetic counselor or geneticist can help you by educating you about the pros and cons of this type of test.
To determine whether you should undergo genetic screening, you need to learn more about this type of screening. You also need to consider the benefits, limitations, and risks. But if you have a genetic condition or abnormality in your family history or have symptoms of a genetic issue, you should consult your doctor. They will tell you whether genetic testing is the right move for you.
To learn more about genetic screenings, contact Partners in Obstetrics & Women’s Health at our office in New Lenox, Illinois. You can call (815) 240-0554 today to schedule an appointment.