Advances in medical technology now mean that it is possible for patients to have their DNA tested so they can have an advanced warning of any genetic factors which may increase the likelihood of developing certain conditions and diseases. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this subject.
How genetic testing works
The process is straightforward. You will be asked to provide a sample of DNA. This could be in the form of a mouth swab or a blood sample. A medical scientist will then examine the DNA and can create a profile of the different proteins and chromosomes. This profile is then compared against different models so any potential risks can be identified. The benefit of this form of testing is that it will allow you to take preventative measures or to start treatment early in order to deal with the potential health issue you may be facing in the future. For example, if a test shows you are more likely to develop breast cancer, you may opt for regular screening so any tumours can be detected at the earliest stage. If the risk is extremely high, you may wish to explore preventive surgery which will remove healthy breast tissue and totally eliminate the risk.
The different types of tests
You have the choice of different types of tests.
General genetic screening is a wide-spectrum test which will look for a wide variety of different genetic disorders within your DNA. This is a great choice if you do not have a history of genetic problems but you want to find out if there is any risk you will develop one.
If you are concerned that a young child may have a genetic defect or if you want peace of mind that your child is healthy, you may wish to have some genetic screening carried out. The paediatric screening will include checks for diseases and disorders which are more prevalent during the early years of life.
This is the type of screening which will be carried out if you suspect you may already be living with a genetic disease or disorder. Diagnostic screening is much more focused and will aim to look closely at a particular set of genes or chromosomes which could be responsible for your illness.
If you have a family history of a genetic disease, you may wish to have carrier screening completed. Carrier screening will identify if you are carrying a genetic mutation which you may be able to pass on to your children. Many people take part in this testing when they are thinking about starting a family so they can identify any risk factors.
To find out more, contact a local health clinic today.