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SPR 2016

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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The expression "skeletons in the closet" usually denotes some deep, dark secret. But we all have skeletons in the closet where our family histories are concerned. Whether it be a history of diabetes, cancer, or heart disease, it is important to know your risks and what preventive measures or treatments are right for you. What is gene testing? Gene testing includes an array of techniques that analyze DNA, RNA, and proteins within our bodies to help predict and detect gene variants that are associated with certain diseases and conditions. In other words, a geneticist can perform a test to confrm a suspected diagnosis, predict the possibility of future illness, and predict who is carrying a certain disease or genetic condition that can be passed on to children. How can you ask your family members about their genetic history? It is a good idea to ask each side of your family a few simple questions to help you get an idea of what conditions may have affected your family in the past, such as: n Does anyone have a major medical, physical, or mental health problem? n Has anyone ever needed treatment in the hospital? n Has anyone ever had any serious illnesses or operations? n How old were they at diagnosis? n Do you have any concerns about any diseases or conditions that seem to run in the family? Preventive measures Knowing you are predisposed to a certain con- dition gives you ample opportunity to be tested as well as to do all you can to take precautions against the development of a genetic disease. While having a history of a genetic condition does not mean you will defnitely have the disease, it is helpful to know that there are options to help keep you healthy. Discuss your concerns with your physi - cian to set up a plan that can help keep you healthy from those "skeletons in the closet." THE SKELETONS IN YOUR CLOSET © 2016 Spirit Health Group. All rights reserved.

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