It’s important to have tools in your belt to promote optimal health, especially when those tools are customized to you as an individual. Predictive genetic testing is a valuable prevention tool that adds a whole new layer of insight into personalized health and wellness. It provides you with a blueprint for your Health Action Plan that will lead to improved outcomes, less trial and error, and a better use of your time and money.
Prediction is the Key to Prevention
Prevention is the best type of healthcare you can engage in because it is always more difficult to treat a disease than it is to never get the condition in the first place, and the key to being able to prevent something is to predict it.
Knowing what could come allows you to prevent it from happening, and while there are no guarantees with genetic testing, it is a predictive measure that can provide insights into your health that you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see.
The importance of getting regular health screenings is valid, however predictive genetic testing provides a means to predict your genetic strengths and weaknesses related to health so that you can be empowered to make lifestyle adjustments that are more in line with what your body will actually respond to.
Predictive Genetic Testing Explained
The purpose of predictive genetic testing is to understand a person’s genetic makeup in relation to health and wellness. The process searches for mutations in genes that cause health issues. When a person possesses a mutation, it indicates an increased risk or predisposition. These tests are predictive because they can help a person understand their genetic strengths and weaknesses related to health, which can provide them with a more informed opportunity to prevent their risks.
Conditions That Can Be Tested Using Predictive Genetic Testing
- There are many different types of predictive genetic tests. Some tests can identify gene mutations that can lead to risk factors associated with certain types of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other tests identify the genes that can lead to conditions like Huntingdon disease, myotonic dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis.
- There are also other tests that look at the foods and exercise to determine which ones your body responds or doesn’t respond well to. Check out the CarpeVITA Nutrigenomics & Fitness GenoTest to learn more about these tests.
Why Consider Predictive Genetic Testing?
To Better Understand Your Risks
Predictive genetic tests can help you better understand your health risks. For example, if there is a genetic condition in your family, you might be wondering if you have inherited the gene that causes it. Predictive tests can help you determine that.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a good understanding of your family’s health history, it can be difficult for physicians to properly diagnose or treat you. Genetic testing can show you what genes you have that can lead to genetic disorders.
To Engage in Personalized Health
CarpeVITA Precision Health uses predictive genetic testing as the foundation of our Precision Wellness Program. Our Health Coaches work with our clients to create a personalized SMART Health Action Plan that takes their genetics, their environments, and their lifestyle into account. Learning about your health from a genetic standpoint can allow you to make more informed decisions about your health that lead to better outcomes. The reason some preventative methods work for some people and not for others is because the way our bodies respond to those methods is determined by our genetic makeup. That’s the same reason why some people can smoke all of their life and never get cancer, while others do.
To Predict So You Can Prevent
When you can predict your genetic strengths and weaknesses, you can create a more effective prevention plan and engage in the lifestyle adjustments that will actually work for you. Sure, you can work on preventing health issues by simply leading a healthy lifestyle, but when you learn about your body at a genetic level, your prevention strategies can be more precise and accurate. We explain this concept further in one of our recent white papers. You can download it here: What You Can Predict, You Can Prevent White Paper.
The Trifecta of Health
The trifecta of health is genetics, lifestyle, and environment, and they all hold equal weight in the effect they have on our health. That’s why a predictive genetic test is never definitive. Genetics is only one element, so although a person might be more genetically susceptible to a health risk, he or she could engage in lifestyle choices that prevent it while a person with a low susceptibility could be exposed to environmental factors that cause it.
In fact, our lifestyle habits can actually alter our genes. To quote The Atlantic, “Research in the new field of epigenetics is finding that our lifestyle choices — the foods we put in our bodies, the chemicals we are exposed to, how active we opt to be, even our social environments — can actually alter our health at the level of the gene. These choices can have big effects on our risk for disease, even if our genes seem to be working against us.”
Scientists are now finding that lifestyle choices, whether positive or negative, can alter our genetic makeup. For example eating a healthy diet and getting consistent exercise can actually shut down the genes that put people at a higher risk for certain diseases like heart disease and can help stem cells turn into blood cells and bone cells instead of fat cells. This is why it is so important to engage in healthy lifestyle habits and reduce your exposure to unhealthy environmental factors. Doing so actually gets your genes to conspire to work for your health rather than against it.
Who Should Consider Predictive Genetic Testing?
Those Who Want to Have a More Personalized, Precise Health Plan
Understanding your genetic strengths and weaknesses related to your health as well as your personal response to certain lifestyle adjustments are important components of personalized health and wellness. Without your genetic health blueprint, you’re really just “throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it sticks,” as they say.
Those Who Want Confirmation of An Inherited Gene
Predictive genetic testing can be especially useful for people who have a family history of a treatable genetic disorder but are not exhibiting any symptoms themselves. This is because it can provide confirmation as to whether they have inherited the gene that could lead to the disorder.
NOTE: Having the gene does not mean you will get the condition, and not having the gene does not mean you won’t get it. Genetic testing is not a diagnostic test and it is not definitive. It is, however, a useful tool that will help you make more informed decisions about your health.
Those Who Can Mentally & Emotionally Handle the Test Results
If a family member has a disorder that is not treatable, it is advised to consider carefully whether or not you want to have a genetic test. You must consider the emotional toll it may take on you if you find out you are genetically susceptible to a condition that cannot be treated. On the other hand, some people would do better knowing one way or another because not knowing would eat away at them.
Some people respond well to understanding their genetic health risks, even if the results reveal a high susceptibility to one or more genetic disorders. Other people might experience shock or feel completely derailed.
Since we are dealing with inherited genes here, your test results will also have an impact on family members as well. Considering the emotional nature of these tests goes beyond yourself, and that should be taken into consideration as well.
While it’s important to remember that a predictive genetic test is not a diagnosis, it is still a sensitive matter. How you’ll respond is a personal matter and you have to decide what is best for you. We’ve compiled some Pros and Cons of Genetic Testing to help you come to a decision.