Self-Help Tips From Dr Sarah Brewer

What Is Genetic Health Testing?

what is genetic testing

Everyone wants to live a long and healthy life. With the limited amount of time that a person can stay on the earth, they’ll be able to accomplish plenty of things. However, the reality of life might kick in, and illness and disease might get in the way, shattering their aspirations. 

One way to ready yourself if you’re at risk of having a disease, particularly if it’s due to your family history, is genetic health testing. It’s a beneficial procedure that helps you prepare and map out your life with a proper diet and exercise routine to dodge the illness away. 

What’s Genetic Testing?  

Genetic testing is a medical test that involves examining your body’s DNA and identifies any changes or mutations in chromosomes, proteins, or genes. Genetic testing can reveal changes in your genes, helping determine any potential development of illnesses or diseases. 

Genetic testing is beneficial in broad areas of medicine and can provide proper medical care for you and your family. You can have the testing done at any age. However, it’s usually done on the newborn stage. 

How’s It Done?  

Once you’ve decided to undergo genetic health testing, you’ll be needing to have the best genetic health testing kits and provide a sample of your blood, hair, skin, or other tissue, and send them to the laboratory for testing. 

Furthermore, a medical geneticist, specialist, primary care doctor, or nurse practitioner can order the test and conduct it in a healthcare facility. If you’re not comfortable with using the kit yourself at home, this is the best option. 

Why It’s Done?

Genetic health testing will help put people’s minds at ease. They can prepare for what’s worse and what’s yet to come. Listed below are the reasons why people undergo genetic health testing.

  • If your family has a history of an illness or disease, a genetic health test will help verify if you’re at risk of acquiring that particular ailment. 
  • If you’re already experiencing any symptoms, genetic testing will verify if you have the illness or disease. This will help eliminate any further tests, which could be a handful and expensive. 
  • Genetic health testing can help you prepare if any future or current pregnancy will have the genetic condition that you have. 
  • It can help you plan out your cancer prevention or treatment plan.
  • It helps a physician provide proper medication dosage that’ll be most beneficial and effective to a patient’s body. 

Types Of Genetic Testing

Various types of genetic testing can vary, depending on purpose and age. Listed below are the different kinds of genetic health testing that help identify any illness or disease.

  • Newborn Screening – This is a test done to newborn infants to help doctors identify any possibilities of genetic disorders and for these to be treated early on in life. The process usually happens by getting a blood sample of the infant from the heel of their foot, and results typically become available two weeks after the test was conducted.
  • Prenatal Screening – If one of the parents of an unborn child has a family history of an illness or disease, prenatal screening can be done during pregnancy to verify if the fetus is at risk of acquiring the ailment. This process will help parents prepare for the birth of their children or decide about their pregnancies. However, genetic health testing can’t identify every inherited genetic condition, so it’s essential to keep your expectations low.
  • Preimplantation Screening – If you’re planning to conceive a baby through assisted reproductive techniques, such as in-vitro fertilization, a preimplantation screening will verify that the embryo is safe and hasn’t undergone specific genetic changes or mutation. Only embryos without any health risks will be implanted in the uterus. This method will help guarantee that the child won’t acquire a genetic condition. 
  • Diagnostic Testing – If a person is already experiencing or showing signs and symptoms of a disease, diagnostic testing will help identify the illness or condition and rule out any other possibilities, avoiding additional tests. Diagnostic testing can happen before and after birth. Doing this as early as possible will help manage your lifestyle choices and keep yourself healthy in the long run.
  • Carrier Testing – This test can verify if a person is a carrier that only holds one copy of gene mutation. If a person has two copies, it can lead to a genetic disorder. Usually, carrier testing is done to those who have a strong family history of illness or disease, or those who come from ethnic groups with an increased risk of genetic mutation. If both parents test positive, they’d learn about their child’s risk of having the same genetic condition. 
  • Presymptomatic And Predictive Testing – If your family has a strong history of a genetic condition, presymptomatic or predictive testing can be done to verify if you’re at risk of having one. This way, you can further plan out your life and provide yourself with proper care to help prevent the possibility of acquiring the illness or disease.
  • Pharmacogenetics – If you’re already experiencing a specific disease or health condition, pharmacogenetic testing will help your physician identify the right medication and dosage that will be the most effective for your body. 

With the various types of genetic testing, you must get yourself tested once in your life to help you prepare for what’s to come, as well as to help you determine that appropriate lifestyle that would ensure your optimal wellbeing in the long run.

Moreover, you can limit or identify the use of appropriate pain killers for your body if you feel that you’re starting to show any symptoms. With this in mind, you should always consult with your doctor first for proper diagnosis. 


A genetic condition is something that a diagnosed person can’t escape. It’s already part of your system. All you can do is minimize the genetic condition’s possibilities to progress inside your body by having the right lifestyle and taking preventive medicines to alleviate its effects. 

Genetic health testing helps individuals identify any possibility of carrying a copy or two of gene mutation. This will help parents prepare if they’ll pass on their genetic condition to their children in the future. 

Please leave a comment or ask a question ...