You might sometimes wonder about your future health and that of your loved ones. Such knowledge may be obtained for peace of mind. In other instances, this information might inspire you to make different lifestyle choices.
An emerging facet of the health industry known as genetic counseling might help provide answers to such questions.
Genetic counseling is the process of informing individuals and families of their inherent risks for developing various genetic disorders and advising said subjects how to respond accordingly.
This work is performed by licensed professionals known as genetic counselors. Typically, genetic counselors hold masters degrees in said field and receive certification through the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
The Reasons You Might Work With A Genetic Counselor
Several circumstances might arise where genetic counseling could prove beneficial to your life or that of a close relation such as:
Assessing Your Cancer Risk
Arguably, one of the most significant genetic-based diseases you can develop is cancer. A counselor could offer crucial advice on topics including:
Counselors will also discuss the emotional and psychological ramifications of pursuing such avenues.
Other Genetic Disorders
If you or a family member is showing signs of or has a prominent family history of other genetic diseases, a counselor might help you assess the risks, seek the appropriate medical testing and treatment, or develop coping techniques.
While Planning Or During Pregnancy
Couples considering having children might opt to consult with a genetic counselor if they possess any genetic conditions or are aware of any existing genetic flaws that could adversely impact the lives of their future offspring.
Expecting women could employ genetic counselors to provide information about tests geared towards identifying potential genetic diseases that may develop present themselves as fetal development progresses.
Some genetic maladies appear during childhood. Parents of a child displaying the physical manifestations of said ailments might seek a genetic counselor's assistance receiving the appropriate testing.
Preparing For An Appointment With A Genetic Counselor
Prior to meeting with a genetic counselor, you are encouraged to execute certain actions designed to expedite the process and make the experience as fruitful as possible.
Such steps include gathering copies of your or your child's medical records and compiling a list of family members and pertinent information, such as their ages, current health situation, and the illnesses they succumbed to if they passed.
Finding A Genetic Counselor Near You
You may find genetic counselors by searching through the professional directories of your local phone book or conducting online searches.