What do you think of when you hear the word “family?”
You may consider your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. No matter whom you include, we all share one thing: connections. Family includes people we love, and those who love us; those we are connected to through a shared history and experience. And one connection between family members that may be overlooked is genetic history.
Family health history tells what disorders run in a family—a disorder like FH.
FH is short for familial hypercholesterolemia. It is an inherited disorder that leads to aggressive and premature cardiovascular disease. This includes problems like heart attacks, strokes, and even narrowing of our heart valves.
Read more here about how getting tested for inherited high cholesterol can make a big difference for your heart health, your family, and your future.
This information can help families and physicians alike see potential health risks and plan a course of action. Healthcare providers play an essential role in helping individuals and families understand these risks, develop plans for prevention, and make healthy choices.
One helpful tip is to schedule an appointment with a genetic counselor.
What is a Genetic Counselor?
Genetic counselors are healthcare professionals with unique specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of both medical genetics and counseling. Genetic counselors work as members of a healthcare team, providing risk assessment, education, and support to individuals and families at risk for, or diagnosed with, a variety of inherited conditions. Genetic counselors also interpret genetic testing, provide supportive counseling, and serve as patient advocates.
What is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological, and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. For instance:
- How inherited diseases and conditions might affect them or their families
- How family and medical histories may impact the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence
- Which genetic tests may or may not be right for them, and what those tests may or may not tell
- How to make the most informed choices about healthcare conditions
Each family has their own unique struggles, but what makes them stronger are the ways in which they overcome burdens and celebrate the joys—together.
How do you achieve this closeness? It begins with the simple things: Talking, laughing, healthy arguing—yes, even disagreements can have a positive outcome. And it continues with open dialogue, support, and love—and even sometimes, genetic testing and shared knowledge.