If you knew that you were at risk for a heart attack, wouldn't you want to start eating better and exercising more? Or, if you knew you were at a higher risk for a certain illness, wouldn't you want to have more screenings to make an informed decision about your health? Genetic testing can give you those answers. Genomics gives you the roadmap to your whole health, from disease prevention to diagnosis and treatment.
Keep reading to learn more about genetic testing, why you should get genetically tested and the kinds of tests available.
What is Genetic Testing?
Genetic testing is a test that looks at a person's genes, how the genes interact and what it means for a person's health. It can show more insights about disease risk, progression and possibly even recurrence — and predict future problems before they even occur. Genetic testing can reveal mutations in your DNA that may make you more susceptible to certain cancers or illnesses.
Reasons to Get Genetically Tested
Genomic testing is important because it helps explain how your genetic makeup may impact a disease's development and can change or aid the medical care you or your loved one receives. For example, genetic testing can reveal that you are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, so your doctor may make lifestyle recommendations to help you reduce that risk.
Other reasons you may want to get genetically tested include:
- To diagnose a genetic condition if you have symptoms
- To know whether you have a genetic condition that runs in your family before developing symptoms
- To learn about the chance a current or future pregnancy may have to a genetic condition
- To understand and guide your medical care team toward prevention or treatment plans
Types of Genetic Testing
Different kinds of genetic tests can help your medical providers know how to create a personalized care plan that meets your needs.
Single Gene Testing
Single gene testing analyzes a single gene. Your doctor may recommend single gene testing if they believe you have symptoms of a specific condition or syndrome, like sickle cell disease. This genetic test is also used when there is a known genetic mutation in your family tree.
A panel genetic test looks for changes in many genes in one test. Your doctor may recommend genetic testing if you have a complex medical history. Panel testing can identify epilepsy, low muscle tone or short stature. It can also be used to find genes associated with a higher risk of developing certain kinds of cancer, like breast or colorectal.
Large-Scale Genetic Testing
Large-scale genetic testing can help identify predisposition to certain cancers or heart conditions. Depending on what they're looking to diagnose or prevent, there are two types of large-scale genetic testing that your doctor may recommend.
Exome Sequencing: This test looks at all the genes in the DNA (the whole exome) or just genes correlated to the medical condition (clinical exome).
Genome Sequencing: This test is the largest genetic test and looks at a person's entire DNA, not just the genes.
These tests give an in-depth view of your genetic markers and your health so that your doctor can create a care plan unique to you and your condition.
Your Roadmap to Whole Health
From before diagnosis to well beyond, we're here for you. Learn more about genetic testing and how our genomics team can help you learn more about the roadmap to your whole health.