Genetic Family History Assessment

A family’s history offers a lot of information about a person’s future and past. It can serve as an indicative tool to guide decision-making regarding genetic testing and family members at risk. The paper seeks to explain the genetic relationship in a family and how it affects future generations of that family. If a particular family suffers a disease, for instance, an accurate family history is usually important in diagnosing the pattern of transmission. Therefore, this paper seeks to assess the health history of three members of the same family from across three generations. The individuals include Ronald, Jane, and Amos.

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Family Members and Health History

Ronald is a 76 years old man who had led a relatively healthy life since he was a young man. However, he recently received a diagnosis of hypertension and was advised to rest and attend regular medical check-ups. Ronald’s wife had diabetes, but she died of breast cancer ten years ago. The two had three children. Jane is the first born child of Ronald. She is 38 years old, married, and with two children. Jane has also been diagnosed with hypertension, and the doctor advised her on the medication to take. Her second born son, Amos, is ten years old. He is healthy without any complications apart from the fact that he is asthmatic. Jane’s husband is also asthmatic.

Family Members’ Ethnic Background, Reproductive History, Growth and Development Variations

Ronald is Caucasian, and so is Jane. However, Amos’ father is an African; therefore, the boy is a half-cast of a Caucasian and an African-American. Ronald grew up in the countryside where there was plenty of fresh, healthy food. He had been active for most of his life, working on the farm. It is only recently that he stopped working because of aging. Jane spent her childhood in the rural areas, but went to live in the city after finishing college. She spends most of her time sitting down at work or home. Amos does not play much because of his asthma. He prefers to stay indoors watching television when not in school.

Family Understanding of Genetic Health Risks

From the health history of the three family members, it is clear that they have the risk of several genetic diseases. It is then very essential to know the simple laws of inheritance to understand how diseases are passed on in a family. A human being has two copies of genes, one from the mother and the other from the father. Family members who have similar mutations may not have the same exact symptoms (Quante et al., 2012). However, it is possible for individuals with different mutations to have the same characteristics. The reason is that the genes, as well as the environment, influence the expression of genes. In this case, Jane understands that she is at risk of having both breast cancer and hypertension. She is already diagnosed with hypertension and will regularly attend check-ups so that if she gets cancer, it can be treated in the early stages. She is also aware that her two children are at risk of getting both hypertension and breast cancer.

Identification of Genetic Health Risk Problems

It is, therefore, imperative that the history of a family is regularly updated and creates awareness on all family members because it is critical to their health when dealing with hereditary diseases. Additionally, the history of a family can help reduce genetic diseases, particularly the kind of conditions in which the environment and lifestyle play active roles. It can also identify potential health risks that an individual is capable of encountering in the future. Early knowledge of the disease can help the individual, as well as the medical practitioners, prepare adequately for interventions to treat the condition and prevent any further effects, thereby prolonging life (Daly et al., 2014).

Many of the well-known complex adult conditions run in the family and are also hereditary. An example of such condition is cancer, which results from gene mutations, causing abnormal multiplication of cells (Nelson, et al. 2014). A family member who is highly predisposed to hereditary breast cancer should consider genetic testing. However, this is only if one’s family history includes more than one 1st degree relative, like a daughter, or a 2nd-degree family member, like a niece, with ovarian or breast cancer. Aforementioned is vital if the family member presented the condition when they were below 15 years old, such as Amos (Riley, et al., 2012).

Having vast knowledge about the family history keeps the members of the same aware of all the possibilities and indicators related to the hereditary diseases present in their family. With this knowledge, family members can take better care of themselves and also learn better ways of living healthy and help other members of their family. By doing so, families have the opportunity to reduce their medical expenses which would accompany a particular condition.

 

References

Daly, M. B., Pilarski, R., Axilbund, J. E., Buys, S. S., Crawford, B., Friedman, S., … & Kohlmann, W. (2014). Genetic/familial high-risk assessment: Breast and ovarian, version 1.2014. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, 12(9), 1326-1338. doi: 10.6004/jnccn.2016.0018

Nelson, H. D., Pappas, M., Zakher, B., Mitchell, J. P., Okinaka-Hu, L., & Fu, R. (2014). Risk assessment, genetic counseling, and genetic testing for BRCA-related cancer in women: A systematic review to update the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation. Annals of Internal Medicine, 160(4), 255-266. doi: 10.7326/M13-1684

Quante, A. S., Whittemore, A. S., Shriver, T., Strauch, K., & Terry, M. B. (2012). Breast cancer risk assessment across the risk continuum: Genetic and nongenetic risk factors contributing to differential model performance. Breast Cancer Research, 14(6), R144. doi: 10.1186/bcr3352

Riley, B. D., Culver, J. O., Skrzynia, C., Senter, L. A., Peters, J. A., Costalas, J. W., … & McKinnon, W. C. (2012). Essential elements of genetic cancer risk assessment, counseling, and testing: Updated recommendations of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 21(2), 151-161. doi: 10.1007/s10897-011-9462-x