Do Genes Affect What Illnesses You Get?

Do Genes Affect What Illnesses You Get?

DNA can tell us so much about our ancestry as we have discovered recently. But can the genes inside of us tell us what illnesses we will get? Please read on as all will be revealed.

Do Genes Affect What Illnesses You Get?

Genes are just one part of your makeup as a human being. Genes are responsible for many characteristics of yourself.

And they include the way you look, even specific traits of your personality. These traits can be carried through genes from parents to their children.

It is therefore an important question to wonder whether other attributes, such as illnesses, can be passed down through our genes.

For example, are you finding that you’re always falling ill with the flu when one of your parents was the same?

Or, maybe you are more susceptible to a specific illness than other people. And again, you have noticed that one of your parents always had the same thing?

It would be logical to expect that illnesses can be affected by the genes you have in your body, in the same way, that genetic diseases can be a problem.

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How Do Genes Work?

Genes in the body are unique, and each gene holds DNA which helps it to perform a specific job in the body.

Genes help with the forming of proteins in the body. Proteins of which are essential for cell growth, development, and various tasks.

It could, therefore, be said that if there is a problem or variation with a gene — such as a gene that has been inherited and cannot function as efficiently as it should — this could contribute to the body catching illnesses far more quickly than it should.

Healthy genes contribute to a healthy working body, after all.

Gene studies are conducted all the time by scientists trying to understand how genes can affect illnesses, disease, and the body. If there is a gene that isn’t working right, this may cause a range of illnesses in the human body.

Genes and Illness

It may be possible for problems with genes to affect the healthy function of the body and the immune system.

Genes and Illness

This, in turn, can affect how likely it is that you will fall ill. And therefore, how easy it may be for you to recover from it.

There may be quick and easy fixes you can do to cope with an excessive illness that might occur due to your genes. These can include fluids from to tackle excessive bouts of cold or flu.

However, in more severe cases, it may be that problems with genes contribute to the development of more severe illnesses or even diseases.

Genes and Disease

A disease can be passed down through family genes. It doesn’t have to directly relate to your parents. But there could be problems within your genetic line.

It is important to remember that genes aren’t always directly responsible for illness or disease.

Genetics may be a contributing factor alongside a variety of other reasons, such as lifestyle choices or your environment.

Genes are copied down from your parents, but there is always the potential for genes to lack perfect copy, or to become mutated.

Mutations or changes in genes aren’t always negative, and most may cause no difference or problems at all.

More severe mutations which cause illnesses or diseases are called genetic disorders.

Gene Problems Which are Passed Down

Some genetic mutations are not caused by genes that have been passed down, and neither can they be passed down to your children.

Gene Problems

An example of this could be skin cancer, wherein the rays of the sun and environmental factors have caused changes in your body. This doesn’t mean though that skin cancer was caused by your parent’s genetics.

It also doesn’t mean that skin cancer can be passed down to your children.

Examples of Genetic Disorders

Genetic mutations, as discussed, can occur naturally at any time in life. And they can be directly passed down through hereditary DNA.

Some key examples of genetic disorders which can be passed down the family line include:

  • Huntingdon’s Disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Heart Disease
  • Turner Syndrome
  • Forms of cancer

It’s also important to remember that someone may never be guaranteed to get the same disease or illness as a family member. But having a history of certain diseases or disorders in the family may increase the risk of you experiencing the same.

This is why doctors may ask if you have any history of heart diseases, strokes, or high blood pressure in your family, for example. Enquiring about such conditions can help to deduce the cause of specific issues.

Genes and Healthy Development

It’s possible for gene mutations or problems to directly affect the body before a person is even born.

Gene mutations can be extremely severe in which they can affect the development of an embryo and even prevent it from surviving before birth.

This reflects the importance of healthy development within genes that are functioning properly. Any gene which mutates and prevents the body’s proteins from working correctly has the potential to disrupt the body’s ability to healthily develop.

Not all gene mutations are severe enough to always affect health and development, however.

A change in a gene can affect its DNA sequence, but not alter the protein, therefore not affecting the body’s development in any way.

In Conclusion

It’s safe to say that any changes or mutations within genes can affect the body, whether minor or severe.

These changes or mutations may occur naturally. Or it may be the case that you may have inherited mutated genes or hereditary problems from your parents.

After all, your DNA makeup is created based on your parent’s DNA.

This is why, should your parents have a specific disorder or disease which affects the way their body functions or the way they look, there is potential for you to get that, too, for example, Dwarfism.

You can always discuss your genetic makeup or healthcare concerns with your professional doctor or specialist. You can even use genetic research to determine factors within your genetic line, which might be affecting you.

DNA research can be helpful for those individuals who don’t have a thorough understanding of their family history. This is specifically in the realm of health, illness, and disease.

Further Information

You may find the following ten-minute video interesting as it discusses genetic disorders and diseases.

Credit: BestOfScience

If you have found this post useful you may want to check out the Does your Ancestry Effect Your Mental Health? post from guest blogger Ashlie.

Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post explaining whether genes affect what illnesses you get. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.

Please share with family and friends if you think this post will help others by using the social media buttons below.

Article Name
Do Genes Affect What Illnesses We Get
Genes can tell us about our ancestry, but can they tell us about what ailments and illnesses we can get. Find out in this interesting post.
Publisher Name
The Genealogy Guide
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8 thoughts on “Do Genes Affect What Illnesses You Get?”

  1. Thanks for this informative post and video. I can say about my family that the allergy was inherited by my children, although my husband has this acquired disease.

  2. I thought I had an MTHF, therefore I was on a specialized folate to bring up my folate level. It amazingly did! You can never know what could be wrong with this complicated machine of your called the body. It’s always worth getting it checked out so you know it for sure.

    Wishing you abundance of health and wealth.

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for this great article.

    Its very timely for me as my mother has Alzheimer’s disease and I’m considering finding out if I have the genes that make this more of a risk for me too.

    I ‘m so pleased that you included the video, which also gave me a lot of very useful information.

    Its a big decision to decide to get tested or not, and the results may not be what you want to hear, but reading the information you have presented here does help very much.

    Thanks again.

    1. DNA research can sometimes return results that you weren’t expecting. But I like to think it’s important to know where we came from.

      I also think that it is the same for detecting illnesses. If you can find out early then why not.

      I’m glad that the video I included was helpful for you.

      Kind regards,

  4. Thank you so much for this highly informative article, Owain! Cancer, diabetes and heart disease run in my family (genetics certainly play a part in that), and as such, I am taking my eating habits, exercise regimen and stress levels more seriously (I’m in my 20s, and want to stay ahead of the curve). I’ve always found it fascinating that certain illnesses are linked to genetics, while others are linked to independent, natural factors–God created a complex world, and there are some questions that we’ll never have the answers to. I have saved your site and will share it with my friends and family. God bless you!

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