Can Genetic Testing Save My Life?
If you’re one of the people who want or need information about your background for healthcare reasons, and your family isn’t able to give you the answers you need - genetic testing may be your best option.
What Is Genetic Testing?
Genetic testing are lab tests that look at your genes. Your genes contain DNA instructions you’ve inherited from your biological parents. The tests perform sequencing of your DNA in order to discover genetic differences, anomalies, or mutations that may cause physical or mental disease. Genetic testing helps to identify increased risks of health problems, choose treatments, or evaluate responses to treatments.
What Can Genetic Testing Tell You About Yourself?
Genetic tests can help to:
- Diagnose disease
- Identify changes in your genes that are responsible for a disease you have
- Determine the severity of a disease
- Help your doctor decide on the best treatment or drugs to use
- Identify gene changes that can increase the risk of disease
- Identify gene changes that could be passed on to children
- Screen newborns for treatable genetic conditions
What Kinds of Health Problems or Risks Can Be Detected With Genetic Testing?
Many different health problems that can lead to disability, disease, sickness and death can be detected with genetic testing including:
- In newborns, phenylketonuria, sickle cell disease, and cystic fibrosis among many others.
- Genetic mutations that can lead to cancer and heart disease.
- Crohn's disease, an autoimmune disease that causes colon inflammation, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.
- Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where the tissues of the small intestine are affected causing diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- Hereditary hemochromatosis which is characterized by an over absorption of iron accumulating in vital organs.
- Huntington disease, a disorder of motor and cognitive functions accompanied by psychiatric disturbances.
- Lactose Intolerance, a disorder where lactose causes distressing gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Tay–Sachs disease, a progressive disorder characterized by weakness and loss of motor skills as well as seizures, blindness, and total infirmity.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which causes irreversible vision loss in older Americans.
- Retinal tissue at the back of the eye deteriorates, resulting in central vision loss, which is crucial for reading, driving and recognizing faces.
- Bipolar disorder, a mental disorder characterized by severe mood swings from despair to euphoria.
- Parkinson's disease, a neurological disorder characterized by limb tremors and stiffness, slowed movements, as well as balance and coordination impairments.
- Psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition.
There are many other medical conditions that can be detected with genetic testing, so be sure to consult with your doctor on what kind of tests are right for you.
Benefits of Having Genetic Testing Done
The benefits of having genetic testing done include:
- High quality and accurate screening for many conditions
- Provides valuable information for current and future generations
- Analyzes a wide range of genes associated with cancer
- Short and simple test much like a regular blood test
- Covered by most health insurance policies
Health insurance policies often cover genetic testing costs when they are recommended by your doctor. However, it’s always best to check with your insurance provider before you have any testing done to make sure it’s covered. You may also consider paying for genetic testing yourself, because the outcome may affect the cost of your health insurance.
For More Information on Genetic Testing
If you want more information on genetic testing, contact our board-certified radiologists at Neighborhood Radiology Services, with locations throughout Manhattan, Queens, and Nassau County. Please call 800-220-2220, or fill out the form on this page to request an appointment or to learn more about our genetic testing services.