Deciphering the sequence of the human genome has opened new opportunities for preventive medicine.
Knowledge about the genetic contribution to illness allows for earlier detection of illnesses, often before symptoms have begun. Genetic testing can give us the ability to take steps to reduce the likelihood that we will develop a particular disorder.
Many people mistakenly assume that the presence of a certain gene means they will experience the associated disease. Not true. There are only a few diseases, including Huntington's, Muscular Dystrophy, and Tay Sachs, that are virtual certainties determined by presence of a particular gene. And fortunately, they are rare.
You cannot change the genes you have, but you can often influence the expression of your genes which means the disease does not manifest.
It is believed that nearly all of the most pervasive, disabling and deadly degenerative diseases, including heart disease, adult onset diabetes, cancer and senile dementia, develop from an ongoing interaction between genetic and environmental factors which determines whether a disease develops. Environment, not genetics, is by far the bigger factor.
Whether or not you choose to "see" your genes, they are always there and play an important role in your health. By choosing to look at them, you have the opportunity to influence the ultimate outcome.
LOOKING AT YOUR GENETIC MAKEUP
At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, we can run a number of genetic profiles:
The Estrogenomics Profile
Are bio-identical hormones for you? Or are you one of those women whom any estrogen replacement puts you at risk for breast cancer? This profile evaluates genetic variations, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in genes that modulate estrogen metabolism, coagulation, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.
The CardiogenomicsPlus Profile
Some people can eat junk food and live to be 100; others have a heart attack at 50. Which one are you? How hard-nosed do you have to be about changing your diet? This profile evaluates SNPs in genes that modulate blood pressure regulation, lipid balance, nutrient metabolism, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
The Osteogenomic Profile
How much are you at risk of osteoporosis? If a lot, then making a lifestyle change now will reduce your risk of further bone loss. This profile evaluates genetic variations in genes that modulate bone formation (collagen synthesis), bone breakdown (resorption), and inflammation, including key regulatory mechanisms affecting calcium and Vitamin D3 metabolism.
The Immunogenomics Profile
Why do some people never have a problem with food allergies and others are crippled by them? If you are genetically at risk, it is crucial that you avoid foods that increase the inflammation in your system. This profile evaluates genetic variations that modulate immune and inflammatory activity.
The Detoxigenomics Profile
Do you metabolize pharmaceutical drugs well? If not, you tend to accumulate toxic amounts or metabolize them too fast – meaning you don't get the effect that you want. Knowing your profile, and which drugs are metabolized by which set of enzymes, will lessen the risk of a bad drug reaction. Since these reactions outright kill an estimated 500,000 people per year, this is something well worth knowing. This profile evaluates SNPs associated with increased risk of impaired detoxification capacity and susceptibility to adverse drug reactions.
The Neurogenomics Profile
Does your child have a genetically weak detoxification system? Is that why he/she had such a bad reaction to vaccines/dental amalgams/chemicals in air or water? This profile evaluates the potential for vascular oxidation, and evaluates SNPs in genes that modulate methylation, glutathione conjugation, and oxidative protection. It also measures the MTHFR gene – so often deficient in autistic children.
ABOUT THE TEST
Direct DNA sequencing examines the direct base pair sequence of a gene for specific gene mutations. Some genes contain more than 100,000 bases and a mutation of any one base can make the gene nonfunctional and cause disease. The more mutations possible, the less likely it is for a test to detect all of them.
This test most often is done using a blood sample which we can draw right here in the center. The test can also be done using epithelial cells in the saliva, or by looking at tissue taken from a tumor.
The cost of each genetic profile ranges from $240 for the Osteogenomics Profile to $775 for the CardiogenomicsPlus Profile.
Genetic testing is usually an out-of-pocket cost. Because the U.S. insurance industry is focused on disease management, not prevention, insurance typically does not cover these tests. But ask your company. In Britain, for example, medical genetic testing is available through the National Health Service. However, they have issues of having to wait many months to take the tests, and wait again to get the results back.
Through genetic testing, you can be empowered to modify the expression of disease years before a condition might otherwise develop. Read more about genetic testing.
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