The advancement of science paved the way to predict nature’s circumstances around us and what’s going on with the human body through their individual and unique genes.
Over the past years, genetic testing has become more common, which makes you question what genetic testing is? And how it is evolving the treatment of many diseases.
Genes can explore and glean information about the human genome. Various types of genetic tests have been introduced over the past years that conduct to view or obtain information on the status of the specific gene of an individual. But is genetic testing safe?
Let’s examine the pros and cons of genetic testing that you need to know before getting tested.
Genetic Testing: Your Path to Well Being
Genetic testing can help identify various diseases that are directly influenced by individual genes.
Treating Cardiovascular Diseases
Globally, cardiovascular disease causes the majority of deaths. Heart attack and stroke are two main symptoms, and most people cannot get treated on time because of unawareness of the disease.
However, genetic testing has been proven to help identify cardiovascular disease types, including arrhythmic disorders, dissections, cardiomyopathies, thoracic aorta, and aneurysms.
The American Heart Association AHA study shows how genetic testing can be beneficial in treating cardiovascular disease on time.
Discoveries Bloodlines and Heritage
Genetic testing or genetic genealogy is a way for people to discover their family history beyond what they can find out from family members and family history documents.
For finding bloodline and heritage information, there are three types of genetic ancestry.
- Y chromosome testing
- Mitochondrial DNA testing
- Single nucleotide polymorphism testing
Most of these are related between parents and children, and more close relationships cause more influence on genes.
Other Severe Diseases
Genetic testing is essential for the clinical management and prevention of many severe diseases like type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Genetic testing can study genes, chromosomes, or proteins mutations, or changes that help identify cancer.
Moreover, it is evident from studies that type 2 diabetes is influenced by genes variants such as single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs].
However, genetic testing helps identify these diseases beforehand, motivating people to change their lifestyles and adopt early treatment.
Pros of Genetic Testing
Genetic testing helps in identifying diseases and their early treatments.
1- Diagnosis of Disease
There is a tendency for most people to ignore specific symptoms, leading to potential health danger. From such a point of view, genetic testing can aid in identifying disease and health risks.
Similarly, people with a particular disease can find treatment protocols by identifying genetic variants. This study shows that women with breast cancer can go for safe chemotherapy if the condition can be detected on lower or mid score cancer during genomic tests.
Early diagnosis helps early and proactive treatment.
2- Reduce Stress and Bring Peace of Mind
When the doctor identifies specific symptoms and asks to get genetic testing done, this can lead to mental stress. It is having a clear view of whether you have a potential health risk or not further causes frustration.
However, the help of genetic tests followed by negative results can become a blessing for some. Knowing with certainty that you don’t have the gene that can cause the disease cause peace of mind.
In addition, the treatment resources can safely be used to treat other patients who are diagnosed with the disease.
3- Disease Prevention Measurement
Not having a specific gene variant is a blessing, but if you get diagnosed with the genes that can cause a particular disease, it is also a blessing.
That’s because knowing a specific danger is on your way can lead to behavioral change can allow people to make healthy lifestyle choices.
4- Determine Family History
When child custody or support is in dispute, genetic testing can help provide evidence of parenthood. It also helps to find the identity of the biological father.
Moreover, it allows people to learn about their ancestry and heritage.
Cons of Genetic Testing
Genetic testing can help people identify and treat a disease, but there are also some disadvantages. Let’s have a look at arguments against genetic testing.
1- High Cost
No doubt, genetic testing brings out lifestyle changes and aids doctors in treating their patients better. Still, not all people can bear the cost of the test. Many have been done to reduce the price over the period. Still, the estimated cost from a reliable lab can range anywhere from around $100 to $2000.
In this case, health insurance can cover some amount, but that differs depending on the nature of the test.
2- Emotional Stress
Negative or positive results both outcomes can cause emotional and psychological stress.
A positive test doesn’t mean you have a disease; it is just a risk of developing one in the future. However, it can result in unnecessarily mental stress. People in their early 30 diagnosed with a specific gene that leads to health dangers spend the rest of their lives worrying about getting the disease.
3- Uncertain Results
Not getting tests from a reliable lab or physician can also be one of the risk factors. Because not everyone is qualified to interpret the results right.
Nowadays, genetic kits claim to find results at home; this is such a problematic issue.
According to the National Society of Genetic Counselors NSGC, graduates and experienced in counseling and medical genetics should be relied on for conducting and interpreting results.
FAQs: Pros and Cons of Genetic Testing
1- Why do doctors recommend genetic testing?
Doctors can recommend genetic testing if they find any potential symptoms of developing cancer or other diseases. Also, doctors recommend genetic testing for pregnant women above 35 age to find out chromosomal problems or issues related to the fetus.
2- What diseases does genetic testing look for?
Genetic testing can find diseases including Breast cancer, Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Psoriasis, Ovarian cancer, Celiac disease, Bipolar disorder, Obesity, and Parkinson’s disease.
3- How expensive is genetic testing?
There is no specific or fixed amount of cost for genetic testing. The price can be range from anything between $100 and $2,000.
4- How do doctors test for genetic disorders?
The doctor can test for the genetic disorder by running examining chromosomes, DNA, or blood test.
Final Say: Talk to Your Genetic Consultant
Genetic testing has been evolving over the years and has proven effective in diagnosing the disease early, allowing people to get treatment on time.
However, it has some downsides as well, from privacy to ethical concerns. Who can have access to the info, and how it can be used against you.
For a good reason, the act is implemented by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), prohibiting companies and employees from using the info against you.
Similarly, there are pros and cons to genetic testing pregnancy. Where it is helpful to identify fetus health, it can cause danger to it as well.
If you are contemplating getting your genetic testing done, the right thing to do is talk to a reliable consultant who has quality knowledge and experience in this field.
You don’t want to take additional risks to discover the potential health risk at the end of the day.