DNA: How Knowing Your Family Ancestry Can Help You Improve Your Health

Finding out the details of your family tree is not only fascinating but can also be beneficial to your overall health. Keep on reading to find out why.

Empowering Choices

Many DNA tests can identify whether you have inherited certain genes or gene mutations that can make you susceptible to a range of diseases. The likelihood of your going on to develop the highlighted disease or condition will vary depending on the individual case, but knowing the situation is important for many people as it enables them to start making lifestyle changes to manage or reduce this risk, and we discuss this in more detail, below. 

Being clear about future possibilities, in this regard, also means that the individual can make plans or put in place certain measures for the future, which, for some, is good for peace of mind.

Optimizing Diet

There are a number of conditions that can be guarded against by changes to the diet; type two diabetes is one of the most well-known of these. Our genetic code can have a direct influence on how our metabolisms function and how our bodies process nutrients, and science is understanding more about these predispositions every day. There is a clear link between our DNA and how our bodies manage, store and burn off energy.

If, therefore, a DNA test reveals markers for type 2 diabetes, action can be taken, in terms of dietary changes, to mitigate against developing this disease. Similarly, the details that a test provides can give us vital clues on the sort of health plans that our bodies’ are most likely to respond well to by giving us the details of how our systems metabolize different types of food and react to various types of diet. Testing can even show the sort of exercise regime that is likely to yield the best results, such as resistance workouts or strength training.

You can find more information here about one such option for DNA testing that offers a fully customized service for each client and deep-dive analysis of the genetic code. You can find the prices of each package here, too, as well as details of the other benefits of getting a DNA test.

Preventative Measures

It’s not just diet that can have a massive impact on our likelihood of developing a range of diseases. DNA testing can also screen for Alzheimer’s Disease, and there is a raft of preventative measures that we can take to reduce the risk of being affected by this condition.

For example, if our genes highlight a predisposition to Alzheimer’s, then we could decide to take early action to improve our brain health, which is a powerful way to potentially ward off the disease.  As with diabetes, diet may play a key role in promoting good brain health, and regular exercise and effective stress management are also believed to be important too. One of the best things that you can do to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s (or to slow its progress) is to keep your brain agile and active by mental workouts, such as a daily crossword, or by learning new skills.

Research suggests that learning a new skill results in new neural pathways being created in the brain; in a nutshell, the more of these pathways that exist in the brain, the more capacity it will have to reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s, as the brain can ‘re-route’ to avoid areas damaged by the disease. So finding a marker for this disease in our genetic code could prompt us to take early action to keep it at bay.

Helping To Fill In The Gaps

Your doctor, or other healthcare professional, may ask you from time to time about your family history when it comes to certain diseases to help determine the chances of you developing a condition at a later date. For some people, like those who have been adopted or don’t have contact with their families, it may not be possible to answer these questions.

DNA testing can also be useful on this score as it allows you to fill in some of the gaps by identifying any markers that are present for a range of diseases. This information is crucial for your healthcare team, as it provides them with the information they need to manage your overall wellness and take early action in terms of screening, further testing, and general health management.

Get The Support You Need

If you’re considering having a DNA test to help determine your risk of developing certain diseases or conditions, then it’s really important to access the support you need to help you through the process. Speak with your doctor before undergoing testing so that they can give you all the relevant information on risk and put in place support to assist you in navigating the testing, including aftercare. 

Once the results are back, make an appointment to speak with your doctor as soon as possible to go through the findings and, if necessary, make a plan for the future.

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