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Genetic vs. Genomic Testing

Gone are the days of waiting to develop a disease.  Genomics (the study of DNA sequencing) is offering new possibilities for diagnosing, treating and even preventing diseases.  With currently available genomic testing, it is possible to know what diseases you are at risk for.  With this knowledge, lifestyle changes and even early treatment can be initiated to prevent diseases.  A growing understanding of human genetics holds the promise to dramatically change health care through customized preventative care and treatments.

First, it is important to understand the difference between genetic testing and genomic testing.  The word genetics refers to the study of individual genes and their role in disease or inheritance.  Genomics refers to an individual’s entire genetic make-up.  Genomic testing is used to the study of all of a person’s genes, including interactions of those genes with each other and with the environment.  Genomics can provide a better understanding of how genes, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors can impact disease.  Certain environmental or behavioral factors play a role in whether a disease develop; for instance, diet, exercise stress levels, and proximity to pollutants or toxins.

Currently, genomic testing can be used to determine risk of developing cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes and certain inherited diseases.  This type of testing can be used to improve or maintain health and wellness as well.  Targeted nutrition and exercise, as well as drug response to specific medications, can be determined via genomics.  Importantly, genomic testing can indicate treatments likely to cause adverse effects, and can also indicate what treatments may be most effective.

Genomic testing can also act as a catalyst for behavioral change.  Clinical studies have shown that individuals who follow a genetically appropriate diet lose weight more easily.  The genomic testing offered at SoCal BHRT tests a variety of genes that influence response to diet, metabolism, and exercise, as well as the propensity to develop certain health conditions and likely response to specific medications.

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