There have been many reports in the news recently about genetics -- Angelina Jolie brought genetics to the spotlight by deciding to have a double mastectomy due to the fact that she carried a gene that increased her chances for breast cancer. Some genetic tests are available for home use for the price of $99.00 a set. With all of this news about genetics, it begins to feel like the world is stepping into the realm of science fiction, where people are able to take charge of their health by ways that was originally thought to be unforeseeable.
You may not have given genetics a second thought, until you have taken your child to the doctor for a physical. What you assumed would be routine visit turns out to be nothing you expected. You may not have been too concerned of the fact that your child is double jointed or sometimes breathe heavily after strong exertion. However, these traits prompted the doctor to refer you to a geneticist for testing to either rule out or confirm a genetic disease such as marfan syndrome or cardiomyopathy.
The thought of genetic testing can be overwhelming and frightening. You stand by feeling helpless as your child is subject to blood work or a cardiogram. During these medical procedures, you need to remind yourself that the testing is necessary. It very well can rule out the genetic disorder. However, if the testing does show positive, you have to ask yourself: isn't it better to know now and be prepared, than to not know and be thrown into devastation later on?
Once the testing is finalized, you can get down to business on having your child lead as much of a normal life as possible. For instance, your child may not have to forgo physical activity, but adhere to an exercise program that doesn't involve heavy weight lifting.
Throughout this journey, it is natural to feel apprehension. However, with this scientific window to the future, you are now able to prepare your child for when he/she grows up. They will be able to make life decisions that will benefit and enhance their health and that is a great gift that you can give them.