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Science is a remarkable thing. Think about it: centuries ago, we barely knew anything about the human body, let alone genetics. Today, with the help of DNA research, we can find out people’s genetic predispositions for certain diseases and even help prevent them.

In the rest of this article, we’ll take a closer look into the role of genetics in predicting and preventing disease. Is it possible? And what do you need to do to lower your chances of suffering from a genetic disease?

Using Genetics to Predict Disease

Scientists can now identify a person’s genetic susceptibility to certain major illnesses by examining tiny variations throughout the genome. People who have a high risk of developing a disease as a result of several genetic variations dispersed across the genome frequently aren’t aware of it.

Many patients can gain a lot from a test known as polygenic scoring that can identify people who are more likely to acquire potentially deadly illnesses before any symptoms ever show up. This knowledge could enable medical professionals to concentrate on these patients and potentially take early illness prevention measures.

In other words: by predicting a person’s genetic risk of developing a disease, you can help a person’s life. Of course, just predicting isn’t enough. You also need to help them work on predicting said disease from developing by living a healthy, balanced lifestyle and taking other preventative measures.

Most Common Genetic Diseases

While some hereditary diseases can’t be prevented, there are certainly a number of those that can be prevented by changing your routine and quality of life. Some of them are:

1. Heart Disease

heart-disease-is-most-common-genetic-diseasesGiven that heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in the US, it’s not surprising that it made the list. Coronary artery disease (CAD) and excessive blood pressure are the most typical types of hereditary heart disease.

Even though having heart disease-affected parents may make you more likely to get it, there are ways to either reduce your risk or, at the very least, effectively manage your symptoms. For example, by eating a nutritious diet and regularly going to the gym or engaging in team sports, you can significantly reduce the risk. Moreover, limiting your alcohol intake and quitting smoking are just two minor lifestyle adjustments that can mean the world in the long run.

2. Diabetes

most-common-genetic-diseases-is-diabetesThe role of genetics in predicting and preventing disease is apparent in the case of diabetes. With diabetes, environmental, genetic, and behavioral variables all have a role to play. By knowing your risks of developing diabetes, you can take steps to reduce your likelihood.

For example, just by eating less sugar and fat, keeping a healthy weight, exercising frequently, reducing stress, and visiting your doctor for the right medicine or therapy, you may minimize your risk or better manage your symptoms.

3. Cancer

top-common-genetic-diseases-is-cancerThere are so many different types of cancer. In addition to lifestyle decisions, environmental and genetic variables have a role in developing cancer. Lung, breast, and prostate cancer are a few of the most prevalent cancers. The most common cancer among both men and women in the UK is lung cancer.

Depending on the kind of cancer, different risks and symptoms apply. In general, you may reduce your risk by eating healthy, working out frequently, quitting smoking, drinking in moderation, and getting regular physicals.

4. Asthma

asthma-is-top-common-genetic-diseasesAsthma is a lung condition brought on by stimuli including, but not limited to, allergies, air pollution, smoking, mold, dust mites, animals, and exercise. When an asthma attack is initiated, the sufferers may experience chest tightness and breathing difficulties, along with coughing and wheezing.

The best method to prevent asthma symptoms is to limit your exposure to triggers. Additionally, you must always have your medication on hand in case symptoms arise. Consult your doctor if you are unsure about all of your triggers.

The Role of Genetics in Addiction Prevention

While addiction isn’t as straightforward as the diseases we listed above, some people still consider it a genetic condition. By eliminating all damaging substances from your home, living a healthy lifestyle, and being open about your past with your children, you can try to break the cycle of addiction. Most importantly, since many turn to substance abuse due to mental health issues, make your home a welcoming space for your child no matter what. This way, you can try to prevent your child from inheriting your addiction. Make sure you’re always available to your child and that they can feel like they can discuss heavy topics with you without getting upset.

However, just like with the rest of the diseases we listed, there’s no telling if all of that is enough to actually prevent the condition. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to try.

General Prevention Tips

When looking at the list of some of the most common hereditary diseases, you probably noticed a pattern in their prevention. Almost all of them can be prevented by taking on some basic measures for your general health and well-being.

For starters, one of the most important aspects of a healthy life is a healthy diet. Eating enough vitamins, minerals, and proteins is essential when it comes to staying healthy and keeping your immunity in check. Second, staying active and working out is another essential step in staying healthy.

Finally, frequent doctor visits are an absolute must when it comes to preventing genetic diseases. Regular check-ups can help you stay on top of things and notice any possible symptom as soon as it appears.

Final Thoughts – The Negative Side of It All

While using genetics and DNA sequencing in predicting and preventing disease sounds like a phenomenal thing, some people oppose it on a personal level. Sure, in most common cases, knowing about the disease can help you make some healthy changes in your daily life and routine in an attempt to prevent the disease.

But what if the disease cannot be prevented? Would you want to know your chances of developing a disease you know you can’t prevent? Sometimes, knowing about it can make you feel like your life has an expiration date. After finding out about their disease, some people can never go back to enjoying their life the same as they were before they knew this information.

Post Author: Manuela Willbold