Weight of Genetics in our Overall Picture of Health

genetic diseaseIt is a known fact that societies as a whole are becoming more and more sedentary, which from a health standpoint isn’t good news. Whether this increase is secondary to aging populations or side effects of the technological era, which effects all age ranges, it is a real problem that can’t be ignored. Lifestyle choices are an option we all need to be aware of and make, in order to have a chance at avoiding genetic disease as well as disease in general. A good rule of thumb for each individual is to look at your family tree and health histories (if known). Diseases such as Diabetes, Cancer and Heart affiliated disease, are definitely hereditary. Knowing information about your family history can in itself be a highly motivating factor to make a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle. If for example, you have hx of heart disease, regular exercise and a diet low in cholesterol might be all it takes to prevent an event in one’s lifetime.

Genetic Alliance (link below) states that “A peek into the past can reveal a lot about your future. Family health history is the story of diseases that run in your family. It is one part of the entire history of your family. Along with culture, values, environment, and behaviors, family health history influences the way you live your life. Learning about your family health history can help you make healthy choices: it is a cheap, easy way to improve your own health and the health of your family. Share the information you gather with your healthcare provider to further reduce your risk of disease and create a partnership around your health.”

It is a good idea to establish with and periodically follow-up with a primary care provider to monitor status of your lifestyle choices. With my 2o yr history of working in a cardiology office, I have personally witnessed the benefits of people taking the initiative and learning from their physicians in monitoring/adjusting their own lifestyles. I use to refer to the labwork results of patients, as their report cards. With tools such as labwork for personal feedback on how you live, you can choose to make lifestyle choices that will help you avoid medical problems/events secondary to your genetics and family history.

 

Link to pamphlet for Genetic Alliance, Family Health History

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