April 24, 2024

10 benefits of genome testing for everyday life | Health

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

Genome testing determines the interplay between genes, nutrition and health; helps to personalise the diet and nutrition; provides us with a blueprint for optimal health and wellness and reveal why certain nutrients or diets works for an individual and why it doesn’t work for others. Genomic tests identify the specifics of our DNA, in terms of change in our chromosomes, associated genes and/or protein and can reveal a wide range of information, from our ancestry to our health and family history.

10 benefits of genome testing for everyday life (Photo by Twitter/MandyKloppers )

For instance, genetic testing can screen and diagnose complex diseases, find out the risk and predisposition to disease, identify hereditary disease patterns and even help in creating a course on treatment, revealing a proclivity for nutrient deficiency or toxicity, food sensitivities and even whether you’re at risk for nutrition-related diseases. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Zainab Abbas, Senior Genetic Consultant at Lord’s Mark Microbiotech, siad, “Genome testing is like a treasure chest of advantages for our everyday life. It helps us take better care of ourselves by using our unique genetic information.”

She highlighted the five main benefits to this kind of testing:

  • First, it helps us understand how our bodies process food. We learn about things like what foods might not agree with us, how well we absorb vitamins, and what things we might be sensitive to. This helps us make smart choices about what we eat.
  • Second, it shows us how our genes and our habits are connected. It can tell us if we might have a harder time with things like smoking, drinking, or even how much caffeine we can handle. This helps us live in a way that suits our own body.
  • Third, it changes the way doctors help us. Instead of trying treatments that might not work, doctors can use our genetic information to create personalised treatments that work better and have fewer side effects.
  • Fourth, if you’re into sports or fitness, genome testing can be a big help. It can tell you what your body might naturally be good at in terms of physical activity. With this information, you can create a workout plan that suits your body perfectly.
  • Fifth, knowing about your genes helps you manage your health better. By learning what health issues you might be more prone to, you can take steps to stay healthy. This might mean getting regular check-ups or talking to doctors more often.

Adding to the list, Dr Ravneet Kaur, Consultant- Clinical Genetics at Agilus Diagnostics, revealed –

  • Carrier screening tests for genetic conditions is a preconceptional test that married couples can use to understand the risk of being a carrier to genetic conditions.
  • NIPT is a simple blood test that can be used to screen the fetus for chromosomal abnormalities like down syndrome and can be done from the 10th week of pregnancy.
  • The most important kind of genetic tests are the ones that help understand a person’s risk of developing cancer especially if there is a strong family history. The BRCA test is one such popular test that helps identify risk for breast and ovarian cancer. There are also germline mutation tests that help identify risk for prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma.
  • Certain sleep disorders are also hereditary. Obstructive sleep apnea, Nacrolepsy, Short Sleep Syndrome, Sleep Bruxism, Sleep Duration Problems are some common ones. DNA tests can help identify the risk and predisposition to developing such disorders. Sleep consultants can curate dietary and lifestyle modifications that can help them sleep better.
  • Cardiac arrythmias, cardiomyopathies, peripheral arterial diseases are all inherited cardiac conditions. Genetic tests can not only help understand one’s risk to develop cardiac conditions but can also help understand how a person will react to certain medications.

Overall, genome testing is like a lantern that guides us through the confusing world of health and lifestyle choices. It helps us make smart decisions and gives us a bunch of benefits that make our lives better in many ways.

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