Can A DNA Test Predict Your Future Health?
Thanks to the low cost and ease of DNA testing kits, it seems like all kinds of people from all walks of life are turning to them for important information.
Learning about your DNA can give you amazing insights into your heritage, ethnicity, and even connect you with living relatives.
Yet, can a DNA test predict your future health?
Many people turn to DNA testing to understand any common genetic predispositions they may have to serious diseases.
Others may want to know if genetically they are at risk of passing something serious down to their children.
Keep reading to learn more about what important information DNA testing could uncover about your health.
What Can We Learn?
When you are seeking out specific health information from a DNA test, be sure to take one geared explicitly toward health-related topics.
A typical direct-to-consumer test will not have in-depth health information.
A DNA health test can tell you about a wide variety of issues, including:
- Hereditary diseases
- Predisposition to certain illnesses
- Genetic mutations
- Overall health and well-being
If you worry about your health or your family's health, it is a good idea to get answers from a DNA health screening.
One of the primary things to learn from a DNA health test is what you may be at risk for, and how you can take proactive steps to curb that problem.
It is possible that you cannot avoid illness altogether, but you can begin addressing the problem sooner.
For those seeking to get pregnant, you can gain invaluable information about what genetic mutations you and your partner are at risk of passing to your child, and what can result from those mutations.
Arming yourself with this information empowers you to take proactive steps toward living a healthier life and preventing disease.
Most Common Issues
Many health issues can be revealed in a DNA test. Among the most common include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Breast cancer
- Heart disease
These are just a few examples of what studying your DNA can reveal.
Still, how do scientists possibly know what diseases you are at risk of displaying? Using a computer model, they can combine thousands of DNA variants that are known to be associated with a particular disease.
From there, they can give that disease a ‘polygenic score’.
Your DNA is then tested to see if it matches any of those known polygenic scores. If you come close to it, you may be at greater risk of inheriting specific genetic diseases.
The results are, of course, a prediction. Yet, they may represent an accurate prediction that saves your life.
What To Do After Discovering A Potential Health Issue
If you are nervous about taking a DNA health test or hesitant to learn the results, do not panic.
If you discover a health issue, there are some simple steps you should consider taking:
- Find specialized doctors and reach out for their professional medical opinions
- Find support groups or online resources that offer support for your particular issue
- Do your research - the more you know, the more prepared you can be
- Planning for the future can give you a sense of control and put you in a proactive stance
- Make important lifestyle changes
In short, the results from your DNA health test are only the first step in your journey. Think of the results as the first clue towards uncovering the mystery of your own DNA.
Each step you take - like seeking out specialized doctors or finding a support group - will lead to better chances of curbing the disease.
Don't Let It Take Over
If your results show an increased disposition to a potentially severe health issue, taking a DNA health test is not meant to derail your life and cause unnecessary panic and anxiety.
Its goal is quite the opposite.
Instead of sowing fear, the point is to arm yourself with enough information and knowledge needed to take steps like therapeutic medical interventions to enhance your quality of life.
You should proceed with caution and begin checking your options.
You can share this vital health information with your siblings, children, and other family members who may also be at risk.
You should not assume the worst; instead, try to find relief in that you gained knowledge early.