Human Genome Project: Personal Impact
Incredibly, a couple of years ago, the entire Human Genome was mapped! You might be thinking, "What is that and how does it affect me?"
If you were playing poker, would it be helpful to know the cards you were dealt? It is now possible to find out the genes you were dealt, so that you can target your lifestyle, accordingly.
Although more than 99% of the human DNA sequence is the same in all humans, there are variations in gene sequences from the usual pattern (polymorphism), that can make us more or less likely to acquire certain diseases.
Genes are the blueprint for building life. Genes tell your body how to develop and function. Even certain elements of your "personality"-are strongly influenced by your genes.
Lab tests using cells from a single blood draw or a simple mouth rinse, measure certain parts of the genetic code called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. SNPs are genetic code variations that indicate risk of certain conditions, but not certainty, because lifestyle heavily influences outcome.
In almost all cases, a gene's ability to promote disease depends heavily on its being switched "on" or "off" by other factors in its environment, like over-consuming alcohol or being chronically nutritionally deficient. Most genetic polymorphisms only have the potential to cause health problems, if exposed to the wrong "mix" of harmful agents over time.
By considering all of these factors together-genes and lifestyle-an individual can more accurately estimate his or her unique health risks and take proactive steps to help prevent chronic disease.
Once you know your cards, you can develop the most effective strategy to play out your hand. Generic medicine is coming to an end. Many people with chronic conditions who do not respond to conventional treatment, have learned that each person's body functions and responds in unique ways.
Testing can show what specific genetic factors could pose a potential problem for you. For example, is your blood pressure highly influenced by your intake of salt? Once you have this information, you can develop a strategic plan to overcome this pattern -and better prevent your genetic risks from becoming realities.
These tests can help you and your healthcare team design a preventive program that works best for your body. Knowing your genetic strong points and weak points allows you to devise a targeted, personal approach that increases your chances of remaining fit and active as you grow older.
If you would like more information about predictive genomic testing, you can contact a natural healthcare practitioner.
Dr. Dennis Godby, Doctor of Naturopathy, Sutter Medical Foundation.
He may be reached online or at his Sacramento Office (916) 446-2591.
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