Scientists increasingly believe that most, if not all, diseases have a genetic component. When included as part of a truly comprehensive physical exam, the results from physician-grade genomic testing can assist in the identification of potential health risks and detection of disease at its earliest state of development. Even if no abnormalities are found today, physician-grade genomic testing records your unique profile for future diagnostic testing as scientists discover new connections between genes and disease states.

At Optimal Wellness, every one of our genomic testing options is physician-grade and FDA approved. 

 

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Understanding Genomic Testing

Five keys to understanding genomic testing.

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What are genes and what is a genome?

Our bodies are made up of cells. Within each of our cells are genes, somewhere around 25,000 of them in every cell. Genes are small parts of a long molecule known as DNA. Long molecules of DNA are organized into pieces called chromosomes. Humans have 2 sets of 23 chromosomes in each cell, one set inherited from each parent. A complete set of 23 pairs is called a Genome. The genome of a given organism contains thousands of genes, but not all these genes need to be active at any given moment.

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What do genes do?

The genes within DNA tell a cell how to function (for example, answering the question “should I be a brain cell or a heart cell or a hair cell?”) and what traits to express (for example “if you’re a hair cell, be curly and blond hair”). Because you inherit half your genes from your mother and the other half from your father, you inherit their traits. The genome of a given organism contains thousands of genes, but not all these genes need to be active at any given moment.

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Why is genomics important?

In addition to inheriting traits like eye color, height, and hair texture, we inherit certain specific disease states and predispositions from our parents. As the science of genomics advances, we learn to identify more of the genetic markers associated with specific health issues. Addressing health issues either before they manifest themselves or early in their development can prevent more serious conditions at a later date.

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What is genomic testing and how does it work?

There are several benefits to comprehensive genetic testing, included but not limited to:

  • Predictive Value. Testing can establish a predisposition for certain diseases and can be used estimate disease risk years to decades before any disease even exists. This allows the doctor and patient to proactively institute lifestyle modifications and increased surveillance.
  • Diagnostic Value. Testing can aid in diagnosis or detection of a disease. When discovered early, some diseases are far more treatable than after they’ve had the chance to advance.
  • Family Planning Value. Testing can provide information about a couple’s risk of having a child with a genetic disorder.
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Are all genomic tests alike?

All genomic tests are not alike. Those interested in a more technical description of testing options are encouraged to visit our genomic testing page.

Tests vary based on their purpose. There are more than 1,700 different genomic tests designed to addresses one or more aspects or your health and wellness: diagnosis, prognosis; risk prediction; prevention; and treatment.

Tests vary based on their sophistication and accuracy. Many of the direct-to-consumer tests available today provide interesting information, but the accuracy of testing is questionable and the supplied interpretations are often so generic as to be without value or notoriously inaccurate. Because of this, qualified physicians cannot and will not even look at the results provided by direct-to-consumer genomic tests. At Optimal Wellness, we utilize physician-grade genomic testing exclusively.