Improving Your Health and Wellbeing

What Is Genetic Screening?

by Ernest Smith

Genetic screening is a series of tests conducted to check whether you have a gene that causes a particular hereditary disease.

If these genes are found, genetic testing is performed to check whether you are suffering from the disease the gene causes. If not, you are educated on symptoms to look out for and how to take care of yourself to avoid triggering the disease.

Who Should Go for Genetic Screening?

Genetic screening is for everyone; you need to know whether you have disease-causing genes to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

There are, however, some people who must undergo genetic testing because they are considered high-risk. These are individuals whose family health history associates them with cancer, diabetes, arthritis, sickle cell anaemia, high blood pressure, cystic fibrosis, obesity, Turner syndrome, Alzheimer's, Huntington's disease, Klinefelter syndrome, etc.

These are diseases that have no cure, meaning they need to be managed. They may also include diseases that need to be treated early, before treatment is no longer possible because the diseases are in their late stages.

At What Age Should You Go for Genetic Testing?

The earlier, the better! You may, however, come across specialists recommending genetic testing to be done between the ages of 18 and 30. The reasons given are psychological impact and the fact that some gene mutations mostly occur around these ages. The physiological impact is how a person would react to being told they have a gene that may cause a particular disease. A younger person, below the age of 18, may not take the news well, but a person between the ages of 18 and 30 might be mature enough to handle the news.

As indicated above, genetic testing is for everyone, but it is recommended to do it after 18 years. However, if you are below 18 years old and your doctor suspects you have a hereditary genetic disease, genetic testing can be done.

Genetic Testing for A Couple Who Wants to Get Pregnant

If you are a couple who wants to get pregnant, genetic screening can be done to find out whether you have disease-carrying genes that you can pass to your child. This way, you don't have to carry out genetic screening on your child (below 18 years old) or when you are pregnant.

Even though genetic screening is done when pregnant, it is advisable to do it before getting pregnant; you don't want to risk a miscarriage.

To learn more, contact a resource that offers genetic screening.