Future of healthtech series: Does our genetics determine our destiny?

Fate or just fatal?

We haven’t just inherited our good looks or lack thereof from our parents, we may have also inherited an early death sentence. But how many of us are aware our genes could spell out our destiny?

Today, Friday 23rd September, is Bright Pink Lipstick Day. A day that was started by Pink Hope with the aim of empowering everyone to have a conversation regarding their family health history, because with this knowledge you have the power to take control of your health. Pink Hope is a charitable preventative health organisation. Today highlights the need to be vigilant about knowing your inherited health risks and to do something about it.

Hereditary cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are among the biggest killers in terms of hereditary disease. But you can alter what your genetic destiny had predetermined for you.

Here we talk about how genetic testing and epigenetics can help with discovering health risks and preventative health.

Genetic testing may be key to preventative health

Genetic testing detects where changes in your chromosomes, genes, or proteins have occurred. The test is performed by taking a sample of your DNA, either through blood or saliva, and performing laboratory methods to examine your genes. This non-invasive test can reveal many things such as risk for genetic diseases or rule out a suspected genetic disorder. Preventive health aims to prevent illness and assist in the early detection of specific diseases while also maintaining good health.

There is a lot of focus on preventative health globally. The Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry states that “Preventative health is critical if Australia is to retain its current status as a socially conscious, economically strong country.” It’s not only important on a socio-economic level, it’s also important for individual people as not addressing health issues early on can lead to chronic and irreversible poor health which is even more costly, not just money wise but in quality of life.

You can get a genetic test today to find out your risk for these potentially preventable hereditary diseases including breast and ovarian cancer, heart disease, and diabetes to take action to lower your risk:

  1. Find a genetic testing provider who adheres to industry standards and provides support from a health professional
  2. Undertake a genetic test
  3. Discuss results with your health professional
  4. Take action to lower your risk which may include more regular screening, medical procedures, medication or lifestyle and diet changes

Alter your epigenetics and alter your destiny

Epigenetics is the study of how our genes can be switched ‘on’ or ‘off’. It refers to the modification of our DNA, protein or RNA through environmental factors. Epigenetics can result in changes to the function or regulation of DNA, protein or RNA without altering your underlying base pairs of DNA (that is the As, Cs, Gs and Ts). DNA methylation is the chemical process that occurs ewhich turns our genes on and off or controls gene expression. Your epigenome is affected by the environment you live and work in, what you eat, how you exercise, who you interact with, and much more. Your epigenome has a major effect on your health. However if you carry an inherited faulty gene, which is not caused by your environment, you still have an increased risk of hereditary cancers and diseases.

You could influence your epigenome by making healthy lifestyle choices such as:

  1. Eating a plant based diet with a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats
  2. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day
  3. Eliminating or cutting down on carcinogens such as alcohol and smoke
  4. Cutting down on stress - hormones released under stress may cause negative modifications to DNA

Stay tuned for the next article on how getting our genome sequenced is a basis for understanding your epigenome.

How important is your health to you? Visit Genomix to get a genetic test today