Monday, August 29, 2016

Understanding Family History and its Impact on Genetics

It is safe to say that most people have pondered what it would be like to age more slowly, or halt the aging process altogether. The reality is, we can only learn so many tips and tricks about prolonging our lives from our families and friends. Scientific evidence of the aging process reinforces the fact that we are all going to die some day. This simple fact propels scientists to study all the variables that have an effect on the aging process. Studies show that the lengthier the time our parents are alive; the higher chance we have of living a longer life. If an individual's biological mother or father lived to be over the age of 70, then that individual's risk of an early death drops by 17%. This number gets continuously smaller as his or her parents age of death progresses above 70. Children whose parents have outlived the age of 70 also have a lower risk of developing anemia, high cholesterol, stroke, hypertension, and heart disease in comparison to those offspring whose parents died below the age of 70. Although it is suspected that genetics play the most significant role in understanding a person’s expected life span, there are other factors such as behavior and the environment that come into play.
It is also important for those having children to be conscious of their family's genetic history. Awareness about diseases that have affected an individual's family may help him or her to recognize it in their own child earlier, sometimes preventing a disease from fully progressing. Families share more than just their genetic makeup, they share favorite foods, health habits, and a common environment. Because of this, it is not uncommon for members of a family to exhibit similar health issues. Knowing your history might help you to recognize the likelihood of your child developing certain health problems and get the ones they do have diagnosed sooner rather than later. The earlier you can catch a medical condition or hereditary disease, the better because you wouldn’t want your child to go on suffering or potentially have the condition get worse.

I found this article interesting because even though some of this is common knowledge, many people don’t take the time to understand their family history. Many people go throughout life avoiding visits to the doctor, and some go completely untreated with serious medical issues. Inheriting a harmful disease is obviously not the most ideal situation to be faced with, but it is better to be conscious of these types of things so you can get the proper medical attention when the time strikes. In addition to this, even if you don’t care about your own health, you should be conscious of it in case you ever decide to start a family.
Family eating healthy

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