DNA home test kits have made it easy for people to figure out if they are at risk of developing malicious diseases. Since blood samples are usually prescribed, these kits give one the opportunity to send a sample of their saliva in a test tube and wait for the results. The results will then show whether one is at the risk of developing a certain disease based on the genetic markers that will be found in their DNA. Here are some of the diseases that could be detected through these tests.
In up to 10% of the diagnosed breast and ovarian cancer cases, there has been a noted mutation in the gene that is responsible for the suppression of tumor growth. People who have these mutations in their genes are said to be at more risk of developing cancer compared to others. Recent studies have also made discoveries that cancer can be predicted up to a couple of years in the future. The chromosome caps that protect DNA from damage have been noted to be more worn out in people who have developed cancer, shrinking up to 4 years before its onset. This is also another genetic marker that could indicate the development of cancer in an individual.
- Celiac Disease
This is an autoimmune condition that attacks the small intestine due to the presence of gluten, the protein found in wheat. This disease is genetic, and about 5% of people who have a close blood relative with this disease are at risk of also developing it. The presence of a mutation in an immune system protein known as HLA-DQ is the genetic marker for this disease.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The most common cause of irreversible blindness, AMD, is largely attributed to heredity. This disease makes the retina unable to transmit images to the brain and usually occurs in people over the age of 60. If the ABCR gene in an individual is mutated then they are at a 30% greater risk than the general population of developing AMD. Those with siblings that have been affected are also six times more likely to develop this eye condition.
- Parkinson’s Disease
This disease usually attacks the nervous system, causing the destruction and loss of brain cells that are associated with the production of dopamine. It affects people over the age of 50, and is characterized by impaired coordination, stiffness and trembling of limbs and muscles on the face and neck. Mutations of the LRRK2 gene is what is linked to the development of Parkinson’s, and if a person has inherited even one the mutated genes from either parent then they have a 28% increased risk of developing the disease.
Most people who have a family history of any of the above diseases have benefited from the genetic tests that determine the risk of getting ill. Knowledge of what your medical future may hold could help you manage the condition better. However, it’s important to note that receiving the news that you have genetic markers that indicate you are at risk is not a confirmation that you will undoubtedly develop the disease, just as finding out you that you lack the genetic markers is not a confirmation of being 100% risk free.