Health conditions in a family is largely connected to genetic linkages between the family members but few also deviate from the normal pattern and are caused by outside factors such as environment, viruses and unhealthy conditions. To develop a better understanding of how a disease can float through a family and may cause problems for a particular person we will need to come up with a complete history of paternal and maternal diseases that could possibly flow through generations.
In my case, just like the rest, there are two sides to the family tree. One is the maternal side and the other is the paternal side.
Starting off with my paternal side, it seems from the family chart that the paternal side is very healthy with very minimal health conditions. The only person with some kind of disease in my paternal side is my grandfather and that too diagnosed at the age of 58 with Arthritis. Arthritis can be both inflammatory and non inflammatory joint diseases. Arthritis can run in family and is genetic but can be counterfeited by better living and environmental conditions (Chapman & Valdes, 2010). That seems to be the case with my father’s side as no one from my paternal side have been hit with such disease yet, but since it is genetic so there’s a good chance of it to hit someone at some point. So it’s fair to say that my father might be carrying the affected genes for arthritis but are recessive as of yet.
When it comes to my mother’s family tree, there’s a number of diseases that run in the family, whether genetic or non genetic. Starting off with my grandfather from the maternal side, he was diagnosed with heart disease at 62 and then later on died at the age of 82. Similarly my grandmother is also diagnosed with Blood Pressure and Diabetes at the age of 57. Heart diseases, B.P and Diabetes are the kind of diseases that can run in families for a long time but it should also be noted that due to the same living conditions of all the family members, the risk is usually high (Rich, Burke and Heaton 2004). So these disease can be genetic but can be prevented by changing the living environment.
One of my aunt suffered from Breast cancer and was diagnosed at the age of 38. Breast cancer can be regarded as a disease that is on the higher side for the women and can be both genetic and through living conditions (Reild & Emery 2006), so I will disregard that. My uncle was diagnosed for Asthma at the age of 30 while my mother was diagnosed for asthma and arthritis at the age of 28. The common disease in my mother and uncle suggests that it’s been in the family but has been recessive, and shown their dominant side in two of the family members. As discussed earlier arthritis can be genetic as well affected by living conditions as well while asthma is commonly known as a genetic diseases. Asthma shows its effect at early age in males while in females the effect can be seen in mid 30s or late 30s.
As per the above results, it can be said that there’s a greater chance of the diseases to be genetically transferred from my maternal side as compared to my paternal side. Though neither my mother nor my father has shown any kind of symptoms of carrying any diseases from what their parents had/have but genetic contribution plays a great role in causing these problems among various members of family. Though none of the diseases, asthma and arthritis that my mother carries, had been diagnosed in her parents yet it could be estimated that one or both of her parents carried these genes and transferred to her.
My father being clean and having a little chance of carrying arthritis while my mother suffering from both arthritis and asthma while she may have a little chance of carrying heart disease, B.P or Diabetes as all these can be transferred genetically to some extent. As per these observations I might have a chance of suffering from asthma or arthritis in the later stage of my life and a very little chance of having heart diseases, B.P or diabetes. Since physical living conditions and diet too play an important role along with genetic transfer of these diseases to show up in one, I would rather sideline these diseases as they haven’t attacked my mom since her living conditions and diet is quite different from that of her parents. Therefore in much of health conditions which are thought of as genetic health conditions, diet and living conditions also play a very vital role in letting those health conditions show their symptoms (Bennett, 1999).
E. C. Rich, W. Burke, C. J. Heaton et al., “Reconsidering the family history in primary care,” Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 19, pp. 273–280, 2004.
G. Reid and J. Emery, “Chronic disease prevention in general practice—applying the family history,” Australian Family Physician, vol. 35, 2006.
Chapman K, Valdes AM. “Genetic factors in OA pathogenesis”. Bone. 2012; 51(2):258-64.
R. L. Bennett, “The Practical Guide to the Genetic Family history”, Wiley-Liss, New York, NY, USA, 1999.
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