It's the age of information. That means the extensive technology the world has at its fingertips allows people to have almost any information they desire. Genetic testing is a huge part of medical technology. It allows doctors to test your genetic makeup to check for abnormalities, or even for answers about your heritage. If you are interested to find out if you could eventually have Alzheimer's, or another life-altering disease, you can get genetic testing to find out. Here are 5 diseases that doctors can test for.
Celiac disease is a condition where a wheat protein called gluten attacks the lining of the small intestine. Some people with celiac may have no symptoms at all, while others become dreadfully ill. Symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sever weight loss. If left untreated, the gluten can eventually destroy the small intestine, making celiac deadly.
Nearly 90% of Celiac is attributed by genetics. A set of genes created by chromosome 6 creates an immune system protein called HLA-DQ. Certain abnormalities in this region cause celiac disease. If you have adverse reactions to bread or other wheat products, you can have genetic testing done to find out if you have celiac.
Age-related macular degeneration causes severe vision loss in elderly patients. About 15 million people in the United States suffer from AMD. A group of genes called ABCR hold the root of genetic AMD. Some specific variations of the genes give people a greater chance of developing AMD than other people. If you want to know if you could eventually suffer from severe vision loss or even go blind, you can get genetically tested for AMD. While you could still get AMD without the genetic predisposition, the chance is much smaller.
Many people confuse psoriasis with eczema because it presents itself as dry-looking patches on the skin. However, psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that affects more than 7 million people in the United States. Your immune cells called T-cells are in your body to fight infections when you become ill. However, with psoriasis, your T-cells attack your skin. The first gene linked to a common form of psoriasis was identified in 2012. This mutation, known as the CARD14 gene is activated by environmental triggers. The triggers can range from a bug bite to a serious illness.
Parkinson's isn't something that many people know a lot about. You probably know Michael J Fox has it, and that's about it. However, about 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson's disease, and about 60 thousand people are diagnosed every single year. Common symptoms of Parkinson's include trembling face and limbs, and stiffness in the torso. The highest risk of developing Parkinson's comes from a mutation in the LKKR2 gene. The LKKR2 gene comes in many variations, and a handful of them link to the disease. Those with PINK1 mutations often have onset between 20 and 40 years old.
Alzheimer's disease is one of the most frightening diseases out there. It is caused by plaque build-up and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain that block connections between neurons and nerve cells. The damage is progressive and irreversible. It can be terrifying to wonder if you will eventually succumb to Alzheimer's. Fortunately, you can be tested for genetic markers for both early and late-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Early-onset Alzheimer's, which includes less than 5% of Alzheimer's cases, has gene mutations on Chromosomes 21, 14, and 1. People with early-onset Alzheimer's can begin to show symptoms between ages 30 and 60. With Late-onset Alzheimer's, people begin to show symptoms after age 60. While all of the causes of Alzheimer's aren't known, abnormalities with chromosome 19 is a high risk factor.
Wondering if you have the genetic predisposition for a disease is frightening. Luckily, you live in the age of information, which allows you to find out instead of worrying. If you want to know if you could have one or all of these diseases, speak to a geneticist about testing at a place like Courtagen Life Sciences for specific genetic markers.