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How DNA Tests Help Us to Make Informed Decisions

 

When it comes to our loved ones’ health and our health, nothing is more important than being able to make informed decisions. I believe everyone somehow has doubts about their own health at some point in their lives. The unknown is scary. That is exactly why many people refuse to do their annual blood test, check-up, or see a doctor when they are not feeling well. Because they are afraid that the blood test, check-up, or their doctor might find out something is wrong with them. And so, they choose to be an ostrich, running away from the problems by pretending they are not there. Is this really the right thing to do? What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you notice that your car is making some weird noise? What is wrong with my car? – that’s the first thing that comes to your mind. And the next thing that you do is send your car to a workshop and get it fixed. That is the logical way to approach a problem. If that is what you do when something is wrong with your car, how can you be so ignorant when something is wrong with your own health? Now, we can now learn more about our body through a simple DNA test. With the advancement of technology, we can do better. We can now take actions to prevent some serious diseases before they hit us. As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” 

 

The DNA Test for You

 

Nowadays, there are so many DNA tests available on the market. Unlike clinic-based genetic testing that is ordered by doctors to make a diagnosis, the DNA tests that are available on the market provide information about our ancestry, health traits and health risks. These DNA tests are called direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT). They do not provide diagnostics, instead, they tell you about your health risks. You can look at it like the test drive that you book before you purchase the car. In the test drive, you will get to know the specifications of the car and what the car is equipped with. This helps you to make a informed decision before you purchase the car. A DTC-GT tells you your “specifications”. It tells you about your body, health traits and health risks. On the contrary, clinic-based genetic testing is more like the test run performed by a mechanic when you send your car to the workshop to get it fixed. The mechanic performs tests on your car, in order to identify the problem and make a “diagnosis” before fixing it.
“What good will it do to know more about yourself?” you may ask. After knowing about your health traits and health risks, you will be able to choose the lifestyle that suits you the most. For example, your fitness traits tell you about your fitness potential and recovery ability. If your DNA test shows that you are positive in aerobic potential, you should probably change your workout plan to a more aerobic-focused training instead of weight training. If you are spending 30 mins on weight training every day, you might get a better result by spending 30 mins on aerobic-focused training, such as jogging or cycling. You will be able to optimise the outcome by spending the same amount of time on your workout. If you have low caffeine metabolism, you might want to consider cutting your caffeine intake. You will be able to see a significant improvement in your sleep quality. If you are tested positive for gout in the health risks, you might want to consider cutting down your alcohol intake or even stop drinking, to reduce the risk of having gout. These are called informed decisions. They help to improve your life quality and prevent you from some serious chronic diseases.

 

The DNA Test for Your Children

 

“What is the connection between my DNA and my children?” you may ask. As all of us know, we inherit our DNA from our maker – our parents. The same goes for your children. They inherit their DNA from you and your partner. Having your DNA tested might help prevent your children from having some severe chronic diseases. This test is called the carrier screening test. It is performed to determine if you carry any genetic variant that could be passed down to your children. You can see it as the “legacy” you might give to your children. The only problem with this “legacy” is that it is bad. This “legacy” usually requires lifelong medical attention, and some will need treatments which cost a fortune. I am sure nobody wants to leave this “legacy” to their children. And now you can prevent this from happening by taking a simple carrier screening test. 
“What can I do after getting my DNA tested? It is not like I can change my DNA,” you may think. Actually, there are a few options you can consider. It is not the end of the world if you and your partner are tested positive for a particular genetic disorder. For example, if you and your partner are tested positive for beta-thalassemia, there is a 25% possibility that your child will have beta-thalassemia, and there is a 50% possibility that your child will be a carrier of beta-thalassemia, just like you and your partner. What can you do about it? One of the options that you can consider is to take on an IVF treatment. Your fertility doctor will perform a genetic test on your embryos to help you select only the healthy embryos to be transferred to your uterus. In this way, you will have a healthy baby.

 

DNA tests may sound complicated to the many. However, with the help of professionals, you will benefit from them in a way that you cannot imagine. 


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