Even after the Human Genome Project was completed in April 2003, scientists continue to conduct genetic research from different countries. Now that they are one step closer to understanding heredity and diseases, scientists are developing new technologies to prevent certain diseases and to treat them with personalized medicine.

For quite some time now, we have been taught by medical experts that common diseases-such as asthma, cancers, diabetes, and heart disease-and rare ones like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and hemophilia can run in families. To illustrate, a mother or father who suffers from high blood pressure can pass on such disorder to her or his child when that child becomes an adult. Knowing about one’s personal or family medical history can be instrumental in learning whether one is at risk of some diseases, and predicting the risks involved.

Once an individual knew that he or she is at risk of developing a genetic disorder, his or her health care provider may devise an individualized plan on a choice of diet, which exercises are recommended, checking regularly for a particular disease, avoidance of excessive alcohol and quitting smoking. At times, the health care provider may also issue a genetic testing to help diagnose and treat a disease.

There are many ways to obtain medical history of an individual. In the United States, the US Surgeon General introduced the “My Family Health Portrait”, a tool that is available on the web, and which help you accumulate and organize your family health history. The tool allows you to draw your family tree and create a chart of health history.

Asking information about the illnesses that run in the family-starting from first to third generation-proves helpful. Documents that record medical transactions such as hospitalization, procedures and treatment are a good source of information. Indicate to the family tree the type of illness contracted by that family member.

Because each individual has a unique genetic makeup, the reactions to certain medicines vary widely. Some patients may have more serious side effects from a certain medication, while others have positive response. Still, there are a few who do not have any effect at all. Every year in the United States, two million individuals are hospitalized because of the serious adverse reactions from medications. More than a hundred thousand deaths are due to that as well. A genetic research aims to have deeper understanding by medical professionals-like the health care provider and medicine scientists-in determining how an individual respond to medications based on that person’s genetic makeup.

A branch of genetic research that focuses on this study is called pharmacogenomics. Scientists involved in such study aims to devise medications for a small group of patients who have similar genetic variations or genes that may have a particular result-mostly positive. The genetic makeup of an individual is influential in breaking down the medicines. In order to determine how a body breaks down a medicine, a genetic testing is recommended and prepared by a health care provider.

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