Genetic Testing Tell Doctor

Genetic test results are an invaluable tool that can be used to help people treat and prevent many common diseases. However, since genetic test results are never conclusive, receiving your results can be frightening. The uncertainty of your test results may leave you feeling vulnerable. Since test results apply not only to your personal health, but also to the health of your family, you may have concerns about the future health of your children or parents.

Genes carried from one generation to the next have specific codes. Some of these genes have codes that may make someone susceptible to specific traits, conditions or diseases. However, not all genes will lead to the onset of an illness.

The Good News about Genetic Testing

If you’ve taken a genetic test and received the results, the next step is learning how to interpret them. Your genetic test results contain important pieces of information that can be put in your health record. This knowledge can help your primary care physician create a unique health care plan thats right for you. In many cases, genetic test results may prompt a person to take preventative measures against a disease and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Individuals who have a genetic marker for a condition or disease are at higher risk of developing the condition or disease than the general population. This higher risk means that they will have to take precautions to help lessen their risk by avoiding certain foods, having routine medical exams, taking certain medications or avoiding harmful environmental conditions.

Discussing Your Genetic Test with Your Doctor

While you are not obligated to reveal your test results to anyone, it may be very beneficial to your health to discuss the results with your primary care physician.

You may have a lot of questions about the outcome of your test. Here are some tips for talking with your primary care physician about the results:

  • Know your family’s health history as well as your own genetic information. This information will help your doctor get a full idea of your risk for disease.
  • Research any conditions you have a predisposition to. This will help you ask informed questions about prevention and treatment.
  • Write down any questions or concerns you have, and bring them to your appointment. This will ensure that all of your questions are answered.

Reacting to a Genetic Test Diagnosis

While genetic test results can be a powerful resource, the results can also be frightening. Initiating an open dialogue with your primary care physician can help you alleviate many of your worries. Talk with your doctor about which steps you can take to maintain your health. Knowing the warning signs of genetic conditions can help with disease prevention and early treatment. Your doctor may recommend routine tests or medications to keep you healthy.

Learning about your children’s risk for a certain condition or disease may also be fearful. Turn that fear into being proactive about you and your children’s health. Discussing health concerns with your doctor can help you stay informed and keep your family healthy.

Resources

Aurora Medical Center (n.d.) Family genetics and colorectal cancer. Retrieved November 19, 2008, from the Aurora Health Care Web site: http://www.aurorahealthcare.org/facilities/more/0007/services/colorectal-cancer.asp.

Fraser, F.C. (1974) Experts from “Genetic Counseling”. Retrieved November 19, 2008, from the Genetic Counseling Web site: http://www.ibis-birthdefects.org/start/g_fraser.htm.