Most of us search for ways we can stay healthy or prepare for health issues that might arise. As a result, we jump at every opportunity to learn more from doctor’s visits, to research, to DNA information available from tests on the market.
The truth is DNA sequencing might just be one of the best tools we have for discovering our health futures.
What Is DNA Sequencing?
DNA sequencing provides doctors with genetic information that comes from sections of a person’s DNA. That sheds light on a person’s ancestry, characteristics, and what mutations might serve as disease markers.
This science was enabled by the Human Genome Project. This sought to label and identify all segments of the human genome and discover more about our DNA. It also seeks to find out where we come from, and identify potential vulnerabilities within those sequences.
While a lot of folks are eager to see what their DNA reveals, the medical information is among the most valuable. In fact, some are already familiar with services that test for things like BRCA, the genetic marker for breast cancer.
But, there is more it can reveal than that.
Potential Benefits of DNA Sequencing
Besides testing for diseases like cancer, DNA base sequences can also reveal heart and metabolic diseases in families. Further, it’s used as a diagnostic tool for diseases that are not yet diagnosed due to difficulty.
DNA sequencing can also be used to identify drug reactions, allergies, and efficacy based on an individual’s genetic makeup. In this way, cancer patients, in particular, can identify the best course of treatments as others can also decide on treatment options.
Another advantage is the potential to provide information on nutrients and diets based on genetic data. Some tests can provide information about vitamin levels, metabolism, and other nutrient levels. These provide answers about your nutrition and diet.
Finally, pregnant women can use DNA sequencing to test fetal health and development. This happens while screening for potential dangerous genetic and/or hereditary diseases.
The Future of DNA Sequencing
Many testing kits promise the ability to provide information about your health based on a quick swab. While the kits can provide some basic information about health issues, the most valuable data comes from labs.
While the cost of these services is certainly going down, it’s still not a service provided by most doctors. In fact, it’s still only used in the case of bigger medical issues such as cancer. The same goes for undiagnosed but serious illnesses that may have a genetic factor.
That said, research is ongoing to discover the genetic sequences that reveal rare diseases, as well as more common ones, like heart disease and diabetes.
Minding Your Health and Moving Forward
While DNA sequencing may on the distant horizon, there are still ways to monitor and manage your health. As research continues, it’s important to stay updated on ways to sustain your well-being. For some, genetics may hold the key to health and someday doctors may have that data to help.
Check out our other posts for more health-related guides and tips.