Your family, and particularly your parents, can be seen as an indicator of your health in the future. While genetics are not an absolute predictor of health conditions you may face, they nevertheless are a huge contributor to the issues you may experience over the course of your life.
While this may sound worrying, it’s actually a good thing. Knowing your family history is incredibly beneficial when it comes to all health conditions, from the minor to the major. If you have a genetic link to conditions, you can be on the lookout for these, and can help doctors finetune the diagnostic process specific to your exact family history.
Below is a list of the some of the most common genetic illnesses. If you have any of these in your family history, it’s important to mention it to doctors if you are experiencing symptoms or health ailments– the genetic component could be the deciding factor in terms of diagnosis.
Most of us may think of pattern baldness as a male condition, but it affects women too. If you find that your hair is thinning or falling, knowing that there is a history of pattern baldness in your family can help your doctors decide if there might be an underlying cause, or just a continuation of a family trait.
Short-sightedness, formerly known as myopia, tends to run in families. If you experience problems with blurred vision, the medical professionals you work with will find it beneficial to know if there is a history of short-sightedness in your family. Blurred vision can have many causes, so the genetic component will be taken into account. If you do discover you’re myopic, then treatments like Lasik can help correct the issue relatively simply, but other causes of blurred vision may require further investigation.
Breast cancer is a very common hereditary cancer. If you have any breast cancer in your immediate family, then this is something doctors need to know about. There are even genetic tests you can have done to identify if you carry the genes that have been found to be responsible for breast cancer, which is a test you may want to consider if many female relatives who have suffered from the condition.
Huntington’s Disease causes neurological impairments, such as loss of memory, speech problems, and cognitive disturbances. You will usually be aware if there is a family history of Huntington’s Disease as it tends to appear dominant in a family line; you can then discuss with doctors to see if you want to be screened for the condition yourself.
Endometriosis is a condition that causes the uterine lining to grow outside of the uterus, causing pain, heavy bleeding, and potentially fertility problems. Recent research has shown that endometriosis may have a higher genetic component than previously thought, so if you suffer from these symptoms, your doctor will want to prioritize endometriosis as a possible diagnosis.
When you know you have these conditions in your family, it can be daunting, especially for the more severe conditions. However, it’s important to see that knowledge is power, and that the secrets hidden in your DNA could help to unlock a diagnosis — and thus successful treatment — as quickly as possible.