Five Health Conditions Impacted By Your Genes
Are you over feeling sick, tired, and sluggish all the time? This is a complaint that is all too common in our society today. It’s our mission at Functional Health and Healing to get you back to feeling your best.
According to functional medicine, your body is an interconnected system of complex parts. “Band-aid” solutions like prescription medication won’t work in the long run.
Unfortunately, your body’s complexity can also make it difficult and frustrating to fix. It’s not enough to pop a pill and expect lasting results.
Functional medicine practitioners guide patients through the process of getting to the root of their health issues and craft a unique treatment plan that works—finally!
However, sometimes you may be doing “all the right things” but still not seeing the results you want. This may be because some health conditions are impacted by your genetics.
Let’s break down these five conditions that are impacted by genes. But first, read more about genetic health in the other parts of this series:
How Your Genes Work
The discussion of genes may take you back to a high school or college biology class. We’ve all learned about DNA and how it affects every aspect of our physical bodies.
DNA is a double-helix strand containing a protein code. When the body reads this code, it’s able to perform its given task accordingly. DNA is often referred to as the “blueprint” or “instruction manual” for how our bodies work.
The DNA code is stored on chromosomes, located in every cell of our bodies. No wonder there are many health conditions impacted by our genes!
However, it’s important to remember that our epigenetics—the environment surrounding our genes—also impacts gene expression. We can control our epigenetics through lifestyle changes such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress relief, and toxin avoidance.
Five Conditions That are Impacted by Genes
1. Genetic Mutations
When most people think of genetic health, they’re actually envisioning conditions resulting from genetic mutations.
Sometimes genetic information can be deleted, duplicated, inverted, or translocated. This interruption in the normal genetic code results in the genetic conditions we often hear about.
Genetic conditions affected by mutations include:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Sickle cell disease
- Turner syndrome
- Wilson disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Color blindness
- Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (acute vision loss)
Most of us have changed genetic expressions but don’t have significant genetic conditions. Genetic expression is affected by a person’s protein production. Without properly functioning proteins, the body is unable to build tissue, health, and maintain movement.
2. Predisposition to Disease
Many people are often genetically predisposed to develop certain diseases. Since genes are passed down from your biological parents, the genes your body receives often mirror your parents’ genes.
We usually inherit a specific body type or skin color from our parents, and the same is true for diseases or health conditions impacted by our genes. This is why doctors often analyze family health history; when you zoom out, you can often see a pattern of health conditions—such as mental health or autoimmune disorders.
Several health conditions are impacted by your genes, including:
- Breast cancer
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol (hypertension)
- Type 2 diabetes
- General cancer
- Mental illness
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Celiac disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
Unlike most doctors, functional medicine specializes in preventative care. When you’re aware of possible diseases and conditions you may be predisposed to, you and your functional medicine provider can conduct proper testing and prime your body to stay healthy and strong.
3. Proper Hormone Production
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, traveling through the bloodstream to reach your bodily organs and tissues. They are just one of the conditions impacted by your genes.
A person may have a genetic code for proper hormone function, while another has hormones that run more slowly than normal thanks to their genes.
Your hormones influence many of the systems in your body:
- Sleeping and waking patterns
- Mood (feelings of stress vs calm)
- Sexual ability
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
- Body temperature
- Electrolyte balance
Like with genetic mutations, hormone function can result from genetic inheritance and lifestyle factors. Even if your genes look healthy “on paper,” they may still not be functioning properly due to poor lifestyle habits. Inversely, if someone who’s inherited a poor genetic code engages in positive lifestyle habits, their hormones may function better.
4. Gut Microbiome
Our intestines are teeming with bacteria that metabolize food, absorb nutrients, defend against illness, and even impact our mood through the Gut-Brain Axis. The gut microbiome contains different types of bacteria that ideally stay in a specific balance. Within this balance—which is constantly changing due to our lifestyles—healthy byproducts are produced and sent to the rest of the body.
However, when some types of bacteria become overgrown, the gut becomes imbalanced. This creates more toxic byproducts, dampens important signals, causes inflammation, and prevents proper GI function. Sometimes people even develop holes in their intestinal lining, allowing unfiltered substances into the bloodstream.
We all inherit our gut microbiome from our parents, affecting how our gut microbes function. If your mother had poor gut bacteria, chances are you’ll start off on a similar level. However, the gut can be impacted through epigenetic (external) factors such as quality nutrition, exercise, supplements, and stress relief.
Your body’s metabolism is more than just how quickly your body processes food. Did you know that your metabolism also controls your cell growth, hormone levels, body temperature, breathing, and blood circulation?
Inherited genetic code often dictates how fast or slow your metabolism will be—though there are a variety of factors involved. For example, a person with the genetics to build and maintain a high level of muscle mass has a higher metabolism. Also, a person who receives genes for hypothyroidism (underactive hormone gland) will likely have a slower metabolism than normal.
Metabolism isn’t fixed, however. A person can quicken their metabolism by building muscle, exercising regularly, fueling their body adequately, and not trying to lose weight too quickly (this lowers the basal metabolic rate).
What is Strategene Testing?
Clare Cattarin (MSN, FNP, IFM-CP, S-CP) provides Strategene, a method for testing and analyzing a person’s genetics. She uses this information to understand why a person’s body may not be functioning optimally.
Clare also provides prenatal detoxes and preconception health coaching for parents who want to pass on the strongest genes possible to their offspring. She’s passionate about raising a healthy next generation.
Strategene Testing in San Francisco
If you’ve been feeling like you’re doing “all the right things” but still not feeling good, it may be time to dive deeper into your genetic information. You may be dealing with a health condition impacted by your genes.
The good news is, Clare Cattarin is here to help with Strategene testing and analysis in San Francisco. Take your first steps today or call 415-531-9775.
NOTE: Stratagene is a trademarked creation of Ben Lynch.
Impact Of Genetics On Health – How Genetics Affect Your Health (top10ratings.com)
How do genes impact health and disease? | Genes in Life
Hormones: What They Are, Function & Types (clevelandclinic.org)
Metabolism: What It Is, How It Works and Disorders (clevelandclinic.org)