Genetic illness

As individuals we are unique. We have different strengths and weaknesses and different levels of resilience. Some of us are born to family who have good genes, but some of us are unlucky and don’t.

Does that mean that our health is predetermined by our family genes?

The short answer is not necessarily. Alzheimer’s is a good example, “only one in a hundred cases of this debilitating disease is caused by genes,” but a healthy lifestyle and the way we choose to live our life, will determine whether we are predisposed to an illness such as this. We may never need to suffer with this particular disease.

I also gave an example in one of my previous blogs about Diabetes. Just because a member of our family has it, doesn’t mean it’s a genetic illness that we will go on to inherit it. Again, the state of our health and lifestyle is largely determined by the good choices we make and how we live our life. Diabetes may therefore, never be something we have to deal with.

We are in effect masters of our own destiny. For example if we drink and smoke too much, a ‘disease gene’ is more likely to be activated through poor lifestyle choices, but if we choose to look after ourselves and make good lifestyle choices, the disease gene is more likely to lie dormant indefinitely.

Our daily lifestyle choices work in the same way. If we constantly choose to eat badly and subject ourselves to stress, we are more likely to get sick. If we choose to avoid stress and a bad lifestlye and promote good health through a better diet and lifestyle choices, then our risk to ill health and disease, regardless of our genes will be dramatically reduced.

10 Sep, 2010

6 thoughts on “Genetic illness

  1. I agree that stress can make you sick. I had it happen to me when I was under a lot of stress at work on more than one occasion. Stress doesn’t do the body any good. It is better if you can calm yourself over all.

    1. Absolutely right. Although it is very difficult when you’re in the throws of stress, to get yourself back out of it… then we have bad lifestyle choices, then illness brought about through those choices, which can be related back to family.

      Correcting bad lifestyle choices will help as will taking away any negativity which comes in. Hard to do if family are being negative, but it’s either live with negativity and stress, or take it away and stay well. My preference would be to take it away.

  2. Genetic links to disease and illness is a known fact, but like you point out that with this knowledge we can work towards a better outcome rather than sit back and just say oh well I can’t help it, I was genetically predisposed to the illness.

    I have decided not to drink alcohol due to the amount of alcoholism in my family tree. I also have to be heart smart and the list goes on and on. I like the we are the masters of our own destiny philosophy and the things we can’t control we certainly can control how we react to them. Thanks Ilana.

    1. I think like you, we all have something. None of us come from families who are completely free of illness, or problems pertaining to illness, but you are so right about being able to control how we react to those things. I think that is half the battle of coming through any problem successfully.

      It’s so nice to see that you have walked away from your own temptations that you could have so easily gone into. Truly an inspirational move.

  3. You are absolutely right. We may have a defective gene that pre-disposes us to these diseases but we don’t have to get them if we live the healthy lifestyle we should. This is so true for our children too.

    There is research that shows type 1 diabetes may be linked to consumption of cows milk at an early age (like a baby).

    I have a history in my family of type 1 diabetes (great grandparents), so I carried the gene and something happened to turn the gene on. I was diagnosed at age 8 and have been on insulin ever since. Great post Ilana!

    1. Wow Lisa. It may be worthwhile looking into this further, so that you know for sure! It somehow makes our struggles easier when we have the full facts in front of us.

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