Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the hereditary material of organisms in all humans. DNA is made up of four chemical bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine. Within these 4 bases are 3 billion more bases – which are the same bases in each and every one of us. These come to form the DNA of our cells. As you know, DNA determines what features we inherit from our parents (such as blood type, hair and eye colour, and so on).
Changes (called “mutations”) can occur in the DNA or chromosomes. These mutations may be harmless, as is often the case. Or they may affect distinct body functions responsible for genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis or Down syndrome. It’s for this reason that genetic testing is highly advisable to find out the inherent risks of developing said conditions either now or in the future. Testing is typically performed on a small sample of body fluid or body tissue. In most cases, saliva provides an adequate sample. Swabs may be used on the insides of cheeks, as well as blood being drawn. If you have a few moments, I’d like to share with you a few major ways DNA testing can help you improve your life.
1. Detect Diseases
Test results are directly responsible for helping people making informed decisions about their future health care. A test that comes back “positive” means that the testing laboratory detected a change in a particular gene or chromosome. Depending on the type of test, this may confirm a diagnosis concern or confirm a potential development of a certain disease. It should be noted, however, that a large majority of DNA and genetic tests cannot detect every single genetic change behind each individual disorder. On the flip side: a large number of major mutations are detected, giving patients the information, they need to prevent and treat the potential disease or condition.
2. Eliminate Future Screenings
On the same token, a “negative” result means that the testing laboratory found no change in the gene or chromosome being tested. Plus, a negative result for a particular disease means you no longer have to have future check-ups or more screening tests. Saving both you and your healthcare providers much-needed time and energy. If results come back positive, you can immediately see methods for possible treatment and take the necessary route for ultimate prevention (if the disease is caught early enough). Additionally, screening the genetics of newborns identifies genetic disorders. This means newborns with these disorders can begin treatment before growing worse as the newborn grows older.
3. Is Your Medication Right For You?
Typically, a doctor will prescribe you medication merely based on symptoms you describe. In most cases, different medications are replaced based on a trial-and-error basis (which can be extremely costly) to figure out which one is right for you. Therefore, the chances are incredibly high that prescribed medications will interact negatively in your body. Pharmacogenetic testing eliminates this frustration and time-consuming havoc. Results from this test show how your body processes different medications. This type of genetic testing helps healthcare providers choose the best medicines that work favourably with your particular genetic identity.
It’s wise to remember that a positive result in your test means that your family members may have the same mutation – as DNA is often hereditary. In a nutshell: the results from testing will directly help you fully understand your personal biology and DNA sequences, as well as detecting possible threats (or mutations) that put you at risk for developing health conditions and disorders.