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Genetic Disease Information

Genetic Disease Information

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There are many different types of illness and disease which can sadly play a part in people’s lives. Some of these are down to things which happen in the course of a person’s life. These are called environmental illnesses. Examples include lung cancer caused by smoking. Other diseases are caused by the genetic material that makes up a person. These conditions are called genetic diseases or genetic conditions. Some of these diseases are caused entirely by genes while others are a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

There are different types of genetic diseases and the causes of these differ from one another. One type is called a single gene disorder. Genetic diseases which fall into this category are caused by a single mutated gene being present in a person’s genetic makeup. Genes can be mutated in a number of different ways. Some mutations are inherited while others are caused by environmental factors. It is estimated that in excess of 4000 diseases are genetic diseases of the single gene disorder type. Some examples include kidney conditions and Huntingdon’s disease.

The other main category which genetic illnesses fall into is polygenic or complex disorders. These are disorders which, unlike single gene disorders, arise from a combination of several genes and environmental factors coinciding to bring about the outcome of a disease. The study of diseases which fall into the classification of polygenic is a lot more difficult due to the complex nature of their causes. Although there is indeed a tendency for complex disorders to be passed down throughout family generations, it is not always clear why some diseases are passed down at certain times while others are not. It is believed that further study and subsequent levels of scientific advance will shed light on this matter and hopefully aid the understanding of complex genetic diseases in the future.

There are a number of ways that people can deal with genetic diseases. One sensible step for people to take is having genetic testing carried out if they have a family history of a genetic disorder. This will help spot the warning signs in the early stages and will prevent a disease from showing symptoms before it is formally diagnosed. People can also be tested to check their likelihood of passing down genetic disorders and diseases to their offspring due to the possible presence of carrier genes in their own genetic makeup and that of their partner.

By Jerry Cantrell

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