Genetic Testing


Genetic Testing: A Proactive Approach to Health and Wellness

The approach of an annual physical appointment often generates fear and anxiety in patients; health can feel fleeting and beyond our control. You may think: My mother died of cancer…Does that mean that is my fate as well? Or: Why does a diet and fitness regimen that works so well for my best friend not work for me? Or perhaps: My father was just diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease. Is it safe for me to have children? An appointment with your doctor can feel overwhelming as you wait for a dreaded diagnosis and hope for the best. Is there a better way? 

Genetic medicine offers the option of taking control of your health. Rather than waiting for diseases to appear and then treating them accordingly, physicians are now able to test an individual’s DNA, the chemical blueprints responsible for carrying instructions for all of the functions of our bodies. With this information, you can work with your physician to plan a proactive approach to your health.

 

What is Genetic Testing?

Genetic material, also known as DNA, dictates every aspect of your body, from the colour of your eyes to what type of diet works best for you to whether you carry the risk factors for certain diseases. Genetic samples can be collected from various sources, including blood, saliva, hair, skin, or amniotic fluid; these samples are then tested in a laboratory for certain chromosomes, DNA sequences, or proteins. What type of information is being sought out is determined by you, the patient. There are thousands of genetic tests available, testing for cancer, cardiovascular disease, risk factors in pregnancy, the efficacy of a certain course of pharmacological treatment, or even what type of diet and fitness regimen would be best suited to your body.

 

What Types of Genetic Tests are Available?

A multitude of genetic tests are available; what tests would be best suited to you and your healthier future can be determined by talking to your doctor. Do you have a strong family history of cancer, cardiovascular disease, or some other condition? Do you need help meeting your health goals? Are you planning on starting a family? All of these factors play a role in what type of testing is best for you. Not any single genetic test can determine all genetic conditions; some tests check for multiple genes or conditions simultaneously while others are intended to identify a single gene.

Single gene testing: If a certain condition, such as sickle cell disease or Duchenne muscular dystrophy, runs in your family and you are concerned about whether the condition affects you as well, single gene testing may be recommended as your best course of action. A single gene test looks  for mutations (changes in the DNA)  in one specific gene that cause or increase the risk of a specific condition.

Panel testing: This type of testing allows for multiple genes to be tested simultaneously. When multiple genes are responsible for (or are risk factors for) a particular condition, such as epilepsy or hearing impairment,  the relevant genes can be tested in a single panel. 

Large-scale genetic testing: Large-scale testing is divided into two categories – exome sequencing and genome sequencing. Exome testing allows for many genes to be tested at once, while genome sequencing involves analyzing the entirety of an individual’s DNA. If cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other complex medical conditions are of concern, this type of testing is advantageous for identifying whether relevant genetic mutations are present.

 

Genetic Tests Available at the Wilderman Medical Clinic

At the Wilderman Medical Clinic, we offer a wide array of genetic testing services that allow you to take a proactive role in your health and future. Our tests include:

  • Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Screening
  • Medication Efficacy Testing (Pharmacogenetics test)
  • Pregnancy and Pre-Natal Testing
  • Proactive Wellness Testing

 

Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Screening:

Genetic Testing to Pre-screen for Cancer

If you have a strong family history of cancer, or even just a fear of developing cancer, the cancer screening test may be a good option for you. Genetic mutations that increase your risk of developing cancer can be inherited from your parents or can be developed due to changes in your DNA later in life. A positive test result would indicate that the genetic mutation for a certain type of cancer is present; however, a second test would be required to determine if the cancer is, in fact, active. 

What does this test mean for you?

Negative test result – You have peace of mind.

Positive test result – You have the opportunity to create an actionable medical plan to minimize your risk of developing cancer, if the cancer is not active, by increasing the frequency of your cancer screening and creating lifestyle changes to decreased your risk of developing cancer. If your test results indicate that you have active cancer, you will have received your diagnosis earlier than you would have without the genetic test, and can work with your physician to manage and treat your condition.

 

Genetic Testing to Pre-screen for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetics can play a significant role in your risk of developing or inheriting a cardiovascular disease. If you have a family history of heart disease or if you have family members who suffered an unexplained cardiac arrest or sudden death, this type of screening may provide information that is vital to diagnosing or managing your cardiovascular health. 

What does this test mean for you?

Negative test result – You have peace of mind.

Positive test result -You have the opportunity to create an actionable medical plan to manage your cardiovascular disease. It is important to remember that, while your genetics are out of your control, lifestyle factors (including smoking, poor diet, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, poor sleep, and stress) play a large role in the development and progression of cardiovascular disease and these factors are in your hands.

 

Medication Efficacy Testing – DNA Pharmacogenetics

Have you ever wondered why a medication that works well for your friend has little to no effect on you? Your genes affect how a medication responds to your body, meaning that a course of medication that is ideal for treating a certain condition in one individual can be ineffective in another. Rather than suffering through the frustration of trial and error with finding the right medication, we offer a specific genetic test, which helps to determine what medications are most likely to be suited to you.

What does this test mean for you? 

It enables doctors to prescribe a personalized medication plan for you, with minimal trial and error.

 

Pregnancy and Pre-Natal Screening

Carrier Testing for Potential Parents

Carrier testing is a useful option for you if you and your partner are considering having children. The test assesses whether you or your partner are unknowing carriers of certain genetic disorders that can be passed on to your children. 

What does this test mean for you?

Based on the results of your test, you can determine what options are best for you in terms of future family planning. You may discover that you are at risk of passing on a genetic condition that can be well managed, if treated early; if that is the case, you can have your child tested and treated as early as possible. If you find that the risks of passing on a condition are too high, you can discuss other options, such as in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, or adoption.

 

Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS, also called NIPT)

NIPS testing can be done as early as 10 weeks into a pregnancy. The test is performed by collecting a sample of the pregnant woman’s blood. The blood sample is then used to screen for certain genetic abnormalities that cause conditions such as Down syndrome, Patau syndrome, and Edwards syndrome. It is important to remember that this test indicates whether there is a high likelihood of one of these conditions; however, it is not a definitive diagnosis.

What does this test mean for you?

It provides you with information about whether your pregnancy is high risk for certain genetic conditions; given that information, you will have time to make the choice that is appropriate for you, whether that is to prepare for the arrival of a baby with potentially complex medical needs or choose to end the pregnancy. In addition to testing for genetic abnormalities, this test can also detect the sex of the baby.

 

Proactive Wellness Testing Packages

We provide a wide range of DNA testing options to ensure your better future health.

 

Totalpower

Health, fitness, nutrition, and brain health all-in-one package for your optimum health. In this comprehensive package, 240 of your genetic variations are tested. Following this test, you will receive a complete report as well as a health consultation, providing you with guidance, based on your genetic report, to live your healthiest life.

 

Dietpower

Unlike totalpower this package is more targeted, involving DNA testing specific to diet and nutrition. Genetics influence which foods provide you with the best nutrition, which foods you need to avoid, and to which particular foods your body is intolerant. Dietpower allows you to learn what your unique genetic make-up says about foods, which enables you to develop an ideal food plan.

 

Fitpower

Do you struggle with your fitness? Are you unable to achieve your  fitness goals even through intense exercising? The fitpower DNA testing can reveal how your body regulates blood pressure and uses energy during a workout, how much power you have to perform high-intensity exercise, and how well your body manages heart health. Test results can also indicate whether you are prone to muscle injury during exercise and how effectively your body is able to recover from a workout. The test results allow you to plan an individualized workout routine and achieve your fitness goals.

 

Healthpower

If you are anxious about certain health risks related to hormones, inflammation, and toxins, you may opt for the healthpower DNA testing. This test results provide a broad view of how your body deals with hormonal functions, detoxification, inflammations, and infection. With this information, you will be able to take positive steps towards your overall health and wellbeing.

 

SkinDNA

Do you see your youthful skin slipping away? Are you developing wrinkles? Although skin aging is a normal process, it can be accelerated due to lack of proper skincare or use of the wrong skincare ingredients. We offer skinDNA test to help you find out whether your skin is predisposed to premature aging, wrinkling, sunburn, and pigmentation. The test looks at 16 genetic markers that influence skin aging and offers a personalized guide depending on the results.

 

Take steps today to prevent problems tomorrow. Be well.

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