Bad Blood: Five Genetic Diseases You Might Be Prone To

As medical knowledge expands, it’s becoming clear that many diseases are actually inherited. While this sounds scary (if it’s inherited, how will you prevent it?), it’s actually great knowledge to have and a powerful tool in staying healthy. Genetic diseases come in all types, but if you know what you’re up against you’ll have an easier time detecting and treating it.

Cystic Fibrosis
One of the most common genetic diseases among Caucasians, this disease is caused by a missing protein that controls how much chloride is in the body. If the body doesn’t have this protein, it causes breathing troubles and reoccurring lung infections. Sufferers of this disease also have problems with their digestion and reproduction. Symptoms can be mild to severe, even leading to death. For a child to inherit CF, both parents must be carriers of the disease.

Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s Disease generally doesn’t appear until an adult is in their 30s. It causes degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and central nervous system, leading to behavior changes, uncontrollable movement, memory loss, difficulty with speech, trouble swallowing, and difficulty walking. If one parent has Huntington’s Disease, then their children have a 50 percent chance of having it, too. Unfortunately, if you inherit the gene you’ll likely develop the disease as well.

Sickle Cell Anemia

When red blood cells can’t carry proper amounts of oxygen to the body because they’re deformed, it’s known as sickle cell anemia. It’s most commonly found in those with African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean descent. It’s a very painful disease and causes pain in the abdomen, chest, and bones. Patients suffer from fatigue, difficulty breathing during activity, stunted growth, leg ulcers, and frequent fevers. They’re often treated with pain medication, folic acid, kidney dialysis, and blood transfusions to prolong their quality of life.

Noonan Syndrome
This is actually a fairly common disease, although many people haven’t heard of it. It affects both boys and girls and affects 1 in 1,000/1 in 2,500 children across the globe. It’s generally passed from both parents, and symptoms sometimes don’t show up until shortly after the child is born. Children with the disease have wide-set eyes, webbed necks, flat bridged noses, and are of small stature. Not so much a disease as a common syndrome, you can check to see if your genes will contribute to it before having children.
Varicose Veins
Yes, varicose veins are genetically inherited! With 50 percent of Americans being affected by varicose veins, it’s hard to tell whose veins are genetically inflicted and which developed because of hormones, obesity, or simply age. According to Ivein vein center, vein screenings can help to check patients root causes and if genetics is any contributor.

Many disorders and diseases simply stem from genetic makeup. With different sources telling you, your disease is caused by a poor lifestyle or environmental factors, chances are it’s simply genetics that have come to play a part.

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