Although there is currently no reliable way of knowing what lies ahead, technology has now made it possible to look at what our genes say the future may hold for us in terms of our health and wellbeing .
Because the company I work for is now offering genetic profiling in some of the locations, I have had the good fortune of getting my own DNA analyzed.
The results were somewhat surprising to me. Some new was comforting, some was a bit unsettling and some was contradictory to what I would have expected.
On the "well, okay you can breathe a sigh of relief side", I tested negative as both a carrier or someone likely to develop any of the 1200 "rare diseases" that they test for. Whew! Happy to hear about all of that.
I'm also not at risk for "sudden cardiac death", three words I don't like individually and like a whole lot less when strung together.
Then on the "gee, might want to change a few things 'cause that's kinda scary side", my DNA shows I have a 90% lifetime chance of developing osteoporosis. Yuck! I don't like those odds.
Glad that I've been strength training for almost 30 years, but I wish I'd been a little better about my calcium intake.
My genes also show I have an increased risk of heart disease and heart attack. Average lifetime risk for women of my race is about 25% and they put my lifetime risk (based on my DNA) at 38%,
I also showed an increased likelihood for developing blood clots/thrombosis and a sensitivity toward sodium-influenced hypertension.
All of this will be good incentive for me to continue to keep up my exercise and continuing to watch my diet. Glad my blood pressure is really low, too.
There were also a few "wow, kinda surprised by that one" findings for me.
For one, I have a greater predominance of fast twitch muscle fibers relative to slow twitch.
This means I'll do better at activities involving strength and power rather than endurance. So much for my marathoning career. Just as well, I wasn't planning one anyway ;-).
I also show an increased risk for arthritis in my wrists, some risk for arthritis in my hips, but interestingly (to me) no increased risk for arthritis in my knees.
The report that comes with this is a very comprehensive tome, I'm still digesting it and thinking about tweaks that I might make moving forward.
It's facinating to me that this technology has allowed me a Dickinsonian glimpse into one potential future for me. Moreover, I feel grateful that in knowing these things, I have a heads-up that allows me to make changes and better choices to minimize the likelihood of these particular genes expressing themselves somewhere down the line.