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What diseases in my family health history should I be concerned about?


Genetic factors contribute to the cause, natural history, and response to therapy of nearly every type of illness. Genetic disorders are influenced by abnormalities in your DNA. Some of these abnormalities cause more commonly recognized genetic conditions such as sickle cell disease or cystic fibrosis. As research continues, we all learn more about the role of genes in chronic diseases experienced throughout a lifetime.

Chronic diseases that have been associated with an increased family history include breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and other psychiatric illnesses. Hearing loss and vision loss have also been found to have a genetic contribution. Sometimes a family history can even suggest variation in how useful certain drugs are in treating conditions experienced by family members. Side effects or responses to treatments can be influenced by genetic factors and may be cause for concern.





Last Updated: 03/14/2008

Last Reviewed: 04/18/2008