One of the most significant medical breakthroughs of the past century has been the development of DNA testing. Through this practice, medical professionals can look for mutations and variants in DNA, helping patients better understand their own health risks and develop tailored medical treatments for potential future diseases. An affordable and efficient process, DNA tests can either help to diagnose an existing condition or inform patients of their risk of developing certain conditions throughout their lifetime. Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences, one of the leading providers of DNA testing and patient-based solutions, believes strongly in the benefits of DNA testing and hopes to encourage more individuals to take advantage of this medical development and become more active in their healthcare.
According to the National Institutes of Health, DNA tests can help identify over 2,000 hereditary diseases and conditions. Some of the many hereditary diseases that DNA tests can help identify include cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and various forms of cancer. Unlike other forms of testing, DNA tests can help identify hereditary diseases at all stages of life and disease development. Even if a patient is showing no current symptoms of a disease or condition, DNA tests can shed light on their likelihood of developing the disease and help doctors to create a plan for managing the condition at an early stage.
Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences states that there are a number of reasons individuals pursue taking a DNA test. Some of these reasons include simply learning whether you have a genetic condition before any symptoms appear. To determine the chances of current or future pregnancy, individuals can pursue DNA testing to help diagnose unexplained symptoms in a child or patient. A genetic disorder is often categorized as a disease caused by a change in the DNA sequence away from the typical sequence. Mutations can cause genetic disorders in one or multiple genes, environmental factors negatively affecting the gene, or damage to chromosomes.
When a person decides to participate in a DNA test, a sample of blood, hair, skin, or amniotic fluid is taken and sent to a laboratory where technicians will look for changes in the patient’s chromosome, proteins, and DNA. Once the laboratory has finalized the results, these documents will be sent to the person’s doctor or DNA counselor or directly to the patient if requested.