How Genetics Affect Your Health

A close-up of a DNA strand under a microscope

When parents experience heart problems in their 40’s their children often wonder if they can expect the same for themselves in the future. However, this is not necessarily true, as people tend to confuse “heredity” and “genetics.” A hereditary disease can be passed on through generations. A genetic disease can be hereditary or not, but these diseases are always occur due to change in a genome. Here’s everything you need to know about genes and health:

How Do Genes Affect Your Health

 

Genes are made up of DNA and are passed down from parents to their children. Most of these genes are copies that are designed to function the same way as the original. However, sometimes during the replication process, the gene might not be the exact copy, resulting in a mutation. All organisms have mutations, and surprisingly, some of these mutated genes might even work better than the original. But, there are others that can cause various problems.

 

A health condition due to gene mutation in a person’s DNA sequence is called a genetic disorder.

Mutations can be (“hereditary”) inherited from parents or “acquired” due to replication errors and even environmental factors like over-exposure to radiation and cigarette smoke. Acquired mutations develop in the somatic cells that can result in problems such as skin cancer, but this can’t be passed to your children.

 

How do Mutated Genes Cause Disorder?

The proteins made after mutated genes instruct the body can also have mutations and not function correctly, resulting in problems in the body. There are genes in every cell of the body, and some gene changes can increase cancer risk. Other environmental factors can also lead to DNA changes in the cells. If the sun damages the DNA, the genes will copy these changes and create more copies in the cells. Sometimes the human body repairs the gene, which helps protect or provide resistance from diseases, but this is rare.

 

What Are The Different Types of Genetic Disorders?

The three main categories of genetic disorders are as follows:

 

1. Single Gene Disorders

These are disorders that occur when there’s one particular gene that’s defective. The person typically has one altered copy and one healthy copy of the gene—an example of single-gene disorders is Huntington’s disease.

 

2. Chromosome Disorders

These disorders occur due to changes in the number or structure of the chromosomes. For example, Down syndrome is caused due to an extra chromosome 21.

 

A woman with down syndrome working with a colleague

3. Multifactorial Disorders 

 

When there are changes in multiple jeans, more complex disorders like cancer occurs. This is usually due to environmental and lifestyle factors. Passive smoking, UV exposure, and uncontrolled diets are factors that you should watch out for.

 

Find biological family roots with the help of experts at DavisDNA & Family Research. We strive to create awareness about DNA testing and its genealogical uses. Based in Tampa Bay, Florida, We offer DNA analysis and forensic genealogy support nationwide. Get in touch with us to learn more about our comprehensive services.