Parents are around to take care of us in our growing years, they pander to our needs and form our support system. But they are also a storehouse of information when it comes to the familys medical history. They hold the answers to several genetic issues that we would never know otherwise.
How would you know whether there is cancer or diabetes in the family, or whether your great grand father died young, due to cardiac problems? Do you know whether there is any history of ovarian or breast cancer in the family? Yes, genes play a very important role in determining what "inheritance¯ you are going to come into. So, isnt it time to delve deeper and ask your parents relevant questions?
Defective genes can be inherited from parents. At present there are approximately 4000 known genetic disorders, but there is no thumb rule as to what will affect whom! So, it is important to know which medical conditions can run in families on account of genetic predisposition. These are things you should ask your parents
High Blood Pressure
Your genes may make you more prone to hypertension or high blood pressure. Its important to know whether your parents or grand-parents suffered from it early in life. Of course, if family members suffered from hypertension and cardiac problems, you will need to be more stringent in keeping your blood pressure well under control. If you have hypertension in the family, you can take precautions early in life:
- Monitor your BP regularly
- Do not indulge with any of the following: smoking, alcohol and high salt diet
- Avoid being overweight
- Exercise choose between walking, swimming or Yoga.
If a parent or a sibling has Alzheimers Disease, it can increase your chances of developing it later on in life. If a distant relative suffered from it, you have no cause to worry.
They say, as sons inherit everything else, they are more likely to inherit Diabetes as well! So if your parent, uncle / aunt, or grandparents had diabetes, you could become a likely candidate. However, by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, weight and eating habits, you can avoid letting this killer disease manifest itself. Obesity blocks Insulin absorption, so, even if Diabetes runs in the family, remember, trimming the fat will delay / eliminate your chances of getting it.
Cardiac problems ( or coronary artery disease) runs in families. The first indication that you can be a potential candidate for cardiac problems, is hypertension. Control your BP and cholesterol levels. If you are a smoker, stop smoking. Obesity can also trigger cardiac problems, so keep your weight under check.
Osteoporosis can hit women post menopause. It is a disease where the calcium leaches out of the bones, making your bones brittle and more prone to fracture. Even if it ran in your family, you can prevent getting osteoporosis by
- Walking regularly
- Doing weight bearing exercises
- Consuming a diet rich in calcium
- Quit smoking
If you are aware, you can take preventive steps well in advance, and at least delay the onset if not avoid completely.
Breast / Ovarian Cancer
If there is history of breast / ovarian cancer in any of your blood relations ( mother, sister, aunt, cousin) you will need to be alert and watchful. Other than the family gene, risk factors can also include obesity, delayed pregnancy, or not having breastfed your children. Early detection is the best you can do for yourself. Self-examination on a regular basis and an annual Mammogram after the age of 40 will go a long way in aiding protection and prevention.
Yes, defective genes, inherited from parents can completely alter your future! Talking to your parents in detail, may be well worth it! Drawing up a family tree may enlighten you and be a good point of reference for future generations. The pedigree pattern will open your eyes to some startling facts. Remember, forewarned is forearmed!