What is a DNA test for health and wellness?
Your genetic heritage can have a significant impact on your risk of various diseases, your carrier status for a variety of syndromes, your nutritional and exercise needs, and other factors affecting your wellness and health. DNA tests assess these types of issues to help you make better, more informed decisions concerning your health and lifestyle.
Why should you buy a DNA test for health and wellness?
- By knowing your genetic risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other medical conditions, you can take steps to protect yourself through regular screenings and lifestyle changes.
- Finding out your carrier status for inherited diseases can help you avoid passing these conditions on to your children, or alert you to the need to monitor them for signs of these illnesses.
- Discovering genetic factors that affect your wellness allows you to tailor your lifestyle to better maximize your vitality, such as modifying your sleep habits or considering new strategies to deal with stress.
What can you learn from a health and wellness DNA test?
You can learn if you’re at risk for certain diseases, whether you’re a carrier for inherited conditions, and how your genetic traits may affect your day-to-day well being.
How much does a DNA test cost?
Health and wellness DNA tests range from under $100 and up.
Tests vary on the level of information they provide, and some tests include more features than others. When shopping for a DNA test, compare not just how much you’d have to pay, but also how much information you’ll receive.
How do you read your DNA test results?
After you send in your DNA sample, a testing company will analyze it and prepare one or more reports, which they will publish on their website. Access your confidential reports with a custom code or by logging into your account. You may also be able to view this information on a mobile app.
Your report will explain what the testing has revealed about your health and wellness, and what these findings might mean for you. These reports are written in a straightforward way that is easy to understand and doesn’t require a technical background.
What is health risk testing and why is it important?
Your genetic heritage can put you at higher-than-usual risk of developing certain health conditions, including various cancers, heart diseases, and mental health disorders.
If you know that you have such genes, you can make sure you get regular screenings so you can detect them as early as possible.
What is a carrier screening and what information can you find out?
There are many inherited conditions that you may be a carrier for, even if you don’t have the conditions yourself. If you’re having children with someone who is also a carrier, your children are at risk of inheriting these diseases. So it’s important to be aware of your carrier status.
What is a trait report?
This report reveals how your DNA influences a long list of traits affecting your health and wellness, including whether you might be allergic to certain substances, are likely to have motion sickness, or have trouble metabolizing specific nutrients.
What are sleep and stress reports?
These reports explore how your genes might affect your ability to sleep soundly or how you respond to stress. If you’re feeling chronically exhausted or overwhelmed, these reports may help explain why.
Can you trust the information you receive from a health and wellness DNA test?
DNA tests look for specific genetic markers associated with particular traits. The results are pretty conclusive: you either have those markers or you don’t.
A DNA test can tell you with certainty, for example, whether you possess a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, which places you at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. You can also learn whether you have genetic variants associated with any inherited diseases, which would mean you’re a carrier.
When it comes to inherited traits associated with allergies, caffeine metabolism, and so forth, finding out you’re at elevated risk doesn’t mean you definitely have those traits. It just means you’re more likely than most people to have them.
Should you take this information to your doctor?
If you discover you have genes that raise your risk for diseases like cancer or heart disease, you should absolutely tell your doctor.
If your DNA report uncovers any issues whatsoever affecting your health and well being, talking to your doctor is a good idea. Your doctor can put these results into perspective and help you decide what if anything to do about them.
What other types of DNA test kits are available?
Your DNA contains a tremendous amount of information about you, and different tests look at different things. Apart from health and wellness, the two other most common categories of DNA tests are for ancestry and diet and fitness.
Ancestry tests tell you what ethnicities are in your ancestral background and what parts of the world your ancestors came from. You can also find previously unknown relatives around the world through your DNA. These reports can also tell you about your genetic traits, what migratory routes your maternal and paternal ancestors followed tens of thousands of years ago, and even whether they interbred with Neanderthals.
Diet and Fitness
Diet and fitness tests tell you how your genes influence your ability to metabolize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, how well your body absorbs certain nutrients, and how well you’re likely to respond to various types of exercise. Finding out about these genetic predispositions can help you tailor your approach to diet and fitness so you can better meet your personal goals in these areas.