Ambiguity has always existed in understanding one’s genetic risk of a disease. Take a moment and answer this question for yourself-Would you start working out more just because you have been predicted with some health problem that might strike in the future or stop working out as you have realized an impending health problem which is going to hit you irrespective of your activity routines? The answer entirely depends on the individual facing the question.
There is a Finnish study too that provides an answer to this question. It shows that 90% people adopt healthier eating habits and activity routines if they are shown that their genes might increase their risk of heart attack or other health problems in the forthcoming years. That’s because, most of these participants were already aware of their current health status and the genetic test results only acted as their source of motivation to start working out and become fit.
Genetic Ancestry Test for Stroke
Genetic ancestry testing takes you far back towards history indicating details about a person’s ancestry and also about relationships between families. Beyond the closeness of the relationship it is the individual’s background that demonstrates genetic variations. Its been shown that when two individuals, families or populations are close to each other greater is the pattern of variation seen among them. A research has shown that genetic ancestry testing more accurately identifies a patient’s risk for bleeding stroke compared to a patient’s self-reported answers to his/her race, ethnicity and culture.
Stroke is a disease that can be curbed with appropriate lifestyle interventions such as controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, quitting smoking, refraining from alcohol and exercising regularly. Besides these other factors such as genetic and environmental factors do increase/decrease the risk of stroke. When someone says that they have a family history of stroke, they are talking about an inherited risk.
The research team analyzed more than 4,000 participants for a type of stroke called intracerebral hemorrhage (this happens when a ruptured blood vessel causes bleeding within the brain) with a genetic ancestry test. Of the total participants, 35% were black, 35% were white and 30% were Hispanic. Almost 50% of the participants were men aged between 49 and 79 years. In comparison to a person’s answers on ethnicity and race, the genetic ancestry test was likelier to single out patients with the four-most common risk factors for stroke-diabetes, high cholesterol levels, plaque accumulation in arteries and irregular heartbeat and this was particularly true in the case of Hispanics and blacks. This shows the minute detailing ability of genetic ancestry testing which lacks greatly in relying on traditional risk factors alone.
Human DNA is mostly similar with variations here and there between populations. The study group tested for these variations by looking for changes in the sequence of DNA molecules. The results were then linked with the four known risk factors for stroke and finally calculated the participant’s risk for stroke.
One major limitation of the study is that the participants were all blacks, whites or Hispanics and hence the results cannot be applied for the universal population.
Beyond genetic testing and finding out, it is the duty of each and every individual to stay fit by leading a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritious foods and staying aware of the symptoms of stroke (FAST). Visit the website www.firsteatright.com to know more about FAST symptoms that need to be identified as soon as possible in a person affected with stroke. The earlier the individual is given treatment lesser is the resulting negative consequences.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.