Genetic Testing

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Genetic Testing
What Is Genetic Testing?

What Is Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing involves an evaluation of a person’s DNA, and sometimes provides information to guide the diagnostic and treatment process of an illness. While there are many medical conditions for which the evaluation and treatment process include genetic testing – cancer, neurocognitive disorders (ie Alzheimer’s disease), autism, Down Syndrome – there are limitations to the quality of the test for each suspected condition.

Another purpose of genetic testing is to help a clinician understand how to guide the treatment of a diagnosed condition. Many commonly prescribed medications are metabolized in unique ways by the body, and the genetic makeup of an individual can change these metabolic pathways. Through genetic testing, a physician and patient can together make more educated decisions about treatment of an underlying condition.

What Happens During A Genetic Health Test?

  • I.
    A genetic health test is often performed by a doctor or genetic counselor, who gathers information about a patient and his or her personal and medical histories before the assessment is conducted.
  • II.
    How a genetic health test is performed varies based on the type of assessment. During a blood test, a needle is inserted into a patient’s vein to collect the sample. With a cheek swab, a sample is collected from inside of a patient’s cheek. Meanwhile, with a prenatal genetic test, a needle is inserted into a patient’s abdominal wall and uterus to collect amniotic fluid for testing.
  • III.
    Once a genetic test sample is retrieved, it is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are next provided to a patient, but the length of time it takes to receive these results varies based on the type of test and the medical facility where the test is performed.
  • IV.
    Positive genetic health test results mean that the genetic mutation tested for was identified during the assessment. Conversely, negative genetic health test results mean that a genetic mutation was not detected during the assessment. In either scenario, a doctor or genetic counselor discusses potential next steps with a patient after genetic test results become available.
  • V.
    The health risks associated with genetic testing are minimal. Comparatively, the emotional, financial, and social ramifications of genetic testing can be significant. These risks should be discussed with a genetic health testing provider before an evaluation is conducted to ensure that you know what to expect throughout the genetic testing process.

Is A Genetic Test Necessary?

Genetic testing is sometimes requested by women before or during pregnancy. It helps women understand if their family history puts a baby at a higher risk of inherited diseases.

Sometimes, different ethnic groups have an elevated risk of certain diseases. For example, people of eastern European descent may have a higher risk than others of Tay-Sachs disease and Canavan disease. Thus, genetic testing may be performed to help an individual of eastern European descent or other ethnic backgrounds evaluate his or her risk of experiencing an inherited disease.
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There is some value in genetic testing, but it is by no means foolproof. By working with the expert medical clinicians at Achieve Medical Center, individuals can receive comprehensive support with a wide range of health issues. Our medical clinicians treat the body, mind, and spirit, and offer genetic testing to aid in the diagnosis of psychiatric and mental health conditions.

Achieve Medical Center is a multidisciplinary psychiatric and mental health services practice that strives to treat the individual rather than just his or her symptoms. In doing so, we provide each patient with a total wellness experience unlike any other. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with us, please contact us online, or call us today at (858) 427-5060.

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