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How Genetic Counseling Works

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How Genetic Counseling Works Powered By Docstoc
					A genetic counseling involves the evaluation of a family history and medical records
to determine the risks of possible genetic disorders. The results of such evaluation are
sought to help come up with the best solution or treatment should the disease start
developing, or to find ways on how best to avoid its occurrence.
  In every session of counseling, a genetic counselor is present. Genetic counselors are
specially trained health professionals whose tasks involve providing information and
support relevant to genetic disorders that may be predisposed to patients seeking their
assistance.
  During the session, the health professional will obtain essential information about
the patient. This may include family history of illnesses and medical conditions. To
help produce a comprehensive background, the genetic counselor may make a family
tree or diagram, which contains immediate and extended family members and their
diseases.
  The diagram will help the counselor understand the possible risks of genetic disorder,
and such information is also crucial to making the patient understand the chances of
obtaining those illnesses, the level of risks involved, and the nature of those diseases.
If there are incidences about having a relative afflicted with a tumor, the health
provider may also suggest more in-depth probe like knowing what contains the
pathology report on the said tumor or the exact age when the relative has developed a
certain disease. In some cases in which additional information is needed about the
genetic illness, the counselor may suggest running a few tests such as blood tests,
urinalysis, fecalysis and genetic testing.
  Genetic testing is accomplished by taking small samples of blood or body tissues
and researchers analyze them. The results determine whether the person carries genes
for some inherited disorders. The genes, which are the simplest building blocks of
heredity, are composed of DNA molecules. Grouped together in a particular pattern
within the chromosomes of a person, the genes constitute the unique 鈥榖 lueprint
鈥?for each biological and physical trait or characteristic of an individual.
  The presence of genetic mutation or any alteration in the gene may increase the
likelihood of an individual to develop a specific disease. The results of each test
whether genetic or laboratory will be explained by the genetic counselor as far as the
information it can provide, the limitations, risks and benefits of such tests are
concerned. Even if genetic testing is not applicable to one 鈥檚 situation, the genetic
counseling will still be helpful in determining other options to mitigate the patient 鈥
檚 risks, or making necessary changes in lifestyle to help appease the situation. At
any rate, the medical team shall be involved to design a course of action for continued
medical management.
  Mostly, the genetic counselors can determine the risks of recurrence or occurrence of
a physical condition and the appropriate tests for it. The evaluation of genetic tests
and other relevant tests is coordinated by the doctor, the patient or couple and the
genetic counselor. If the results seem troubling to a patient, the genetic counselor may
refer additional support and resources to help gain understanding about the condition
and help make crucial decisions.
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