The Role Of Genetics In Chronic Illness

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

I am a functional medicine doctor who specializes in complex and chronic conditions.

Genetic data is one of the many tools I utilize to get people better naturally.

Many of my patients first came to me in alarm at the findings of their genetic testing with questions like "does this mean I will get [heart disease, Alzheimer's or autoimmune disease] for sure?" or "I wish I never got the test, now I am just dreading when this happens, will my children get this disease too?"

Instead of getting the answers they hoped for, they just ended up with more worry.

The risk assessment printout that you get from many online services can be truly horrifying - it can look like your life is suddenly a series of unavoidable health catastrophes.

abstract molecules in a pastel background. text overlay The Role Of Genetics In Chronic Illness Functional Healthcare Institute

Genetics Is More Than 'Risk Factors'

There are many, many variables that can change that risk assessment - the right doctor can help you lower your risk of certain diseases so you can increase your chances at a long and healthy life.

Besides, if you are looking at your genes all in terms of 'risk' you are largely missing the most important information.

Genetic data is used best by not thinking solely in terms of 'risk' - but in terms of 'function'. In this way, genetic data can be used to ease symptoms and help unearth the cause of the chronic illness you may be facing now.

Single Genes vs Genotyping

Usually, patients get genetic data two different ways. If a certain condition is suspected by a doctor, he or she may order a test for the presence of a single genetic variant for diagnosis.

Testing a single gene through a hospital has a higher degree of accuracy but may cost thousands of dollars.