Genetic Testing: Is It For Everyone?
With so many different laboratory-testing options available to patients and doctors, it's not surprising that there is uncertainty about who should pursue genetic testing and why it could be useful. You should consider genetic testing if you fall into one of four categories:
1. Difficulty with Diagnoses and/or Treatment
If you have been through conventional laboratory workup and are still experiencing difficulty diagnosing the cause of your symptoms you should seriously consider genetic testing. In addition, if you have not had adequate relief of symptoms with current treatment of a medical condition, you may also benefit from genetic testing. As you learn more about your genetic pathways, your unique biochemistry is revealed, which can lead to new treatment ideas and medication dosage corrections.
2. You are Looking to Achieve Optimal Health
Your genetic influence on your biochemistry creates unique and personalized opportunities to enhance how your body operates. Discovering your genetic "weak links" leads to strategies to improve how your body operates, ensuring that you can reach optimal function.
3. Family History of Concerning Health Conditions
Those with a strong family history of certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, endocrine disorders, autoimmunity, or psychological conditions (such as anxiety or depression) will benefit from understanding what genetic causes may be present. Genetic testing can help determine your risk of developing a particular illness or explain your current symptoms. Knowing what potential health hazards are present will help ensure appropriate steps are taken to address those risks.
4. As Part of Comprehensive Preventative Medicine Plan
Understanding your genetic predispositions to developing certain conditions or deficiencies is important information for patients who are interested in being proactive with their healthcare. For example, if it is determined that you have a genetic predisposition to macular degeneration, which can lead to blurring or loss of vision, a proper response would be to ensure that you have extra antioxidant support that targets the eyes specifically, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Many conditions that have a genetic component also have treatments available to reduce the risk or severity of the condition. The key is uncovering these risks early and then taking preemptive steps to address them.
Genetic testing and analysis affords an exciting opportunity for answers beyond what conventional laboratory testing will provide. While every patient will find genetic testing useful and informative, the information contained within a genetic report will likely appeal most to those that fall into one of the above categories.