Genetics—not concrete but great predictors of your abilities, your body type, and your health. Also kind of sucks because if your parents or grandparents have any health issues, chances are so do you. For instance, my mom and grandma have thyroid problems so now I’m always on alert for any signs that I may have them too.

The possibility of developing a genetic condition depends on the nature of the condition itself. There can either be an issue with the inherited DNA, the DNA is not properly developed, or an abnormality can form during conception. Basically this means one or both of your parents passed on issues, the DNA was damaged/malformed when creating the sperm/egg, or the DNA was damaged/malformed during or soon after conception. So not all genetic conditions are necessarily inherited; some just occur. The damage or malformation can occur in missing or additional chromosomes, damaged chromosomes, or even somehow inheriting two sets of chromosomes from the same parent instead of one from each (please don’t ask me to explain exactly how that one works because I’m still kind of confused about it).

If you’re worried about whether you or a family member might have a genetic condition, there’s apparently a thing called genetic counselling. There are a couple of different ways your DNA can be tested and, based on the results, can determine whether or not you may have a genetic condition. There are two types of people you’d like encounter during genetic testing: the geneticist and the genetic counsellor. The geneticist is the doctor who will go over the test results and help manage any conditions that appear. The genetic counsellor work with geneticists to prepare people for a condition they may have or may develop in the future.

Genetic testing can be useful for people who may not know their family health history or those who may suspect they have a genetic condition. It’s a way to find out if there’s a problem without digging into other people’s privacy or asking your mom what conditions her hundredth-great grandpa had.

Info: Better Health Victoria: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/genetic-conditions

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/genes-and-genetics-faq

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