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4 health conditions you didn’t know were influenced by genetics

Although your lifestyle and environment each have a powerful impact on your health, your DNA—the genetic code that’s stored within each of your trillions of cells—has a significant effect as well. Thanks to advances in science and technology, you can now have your DNA tested to learn more about your genetic risk for many health conditions from the comfort of your home, which can help you take appropriate steps (like talking to your health care provider) to manage that risk.
Mayo Clinic GeneGuide™ is a genetic testing experience that helps you understand how genetics can affect your health. Get personalized insights, interactive tools, and education that helps you explore the health information in your DNA. Mayo Clinic GeneGuide™ can shed light on your genetic risks for a variety of conditions. You may not have known that these conditions had a genetic risk component—in fact, you may not be familiar with some of these conditions at all!
So, what kinds of conditions can Mayo Clinic GeneGuide help you learn more about? Here are just a few:

Coronary artery disease (CAD)

CAD is the main cause of heart attacks, and the number one cause of death among American men and women. Lifestyle choices—like smoking and diet—have a substantial impact on the development of coronary artery disease. Genetic variants can also have an impact on risk for CAD. With Mayo Clinic GeneGuide, you’ll get a view into three such variants that can contribute to a slightly elevated risk of CAD, along with resources and information on how you can positively impact your own risk for this serious condition.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE)

Blood clotting is an extremely important feature of the human body; without it, we would have a much more difficult time stopping bleeding after getting a cut or scrape. But sometimes, clotting can cause problems. VTE is a condition that causes clots to form in veins when or where they shouldn’t, which can lead to other complications—some of which can be life-threatening. Both genetic and non-genetic factors, like age and gender, contribute to your risk for VTE. Mayo Clinic GeneGuide tests for variants in genes called F2 and F5 that can lead to an increased risk of VTE, and offers a printable report you can show to your health care provider to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have.

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)

The “macular” in “age-related macular degeneration” refers to the macula, a small area close to the center of the retina that is responsible for our central vision—the high-resolution eyesight that allows us to read, drive, and perform other tasks where vision is most critical. Age-related macular degeneration causes the macula to become damaged, which can lead to the deterioration or loss of this central vision. With Mayo Clinic GeneGuide, you’ll get results pertaining to genetic variants in the CFH and ARMS2 genes that can help you understand how DNA may affect your risk for this condition, and you’ll be able to learn how lifestyle can also play a role in your risk.

Atrial fibrillation

A fast heartbeat can be completely normal—in fact, you’d expect it when you’re exercising or otherwise physically exerting yourself. But it can also be a symptom of atrial fibrillation, a condition that affects millions of people in the United States alone. Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib) is defined by an irregular heart rate, which may also be faster than normal. Although it’s uncommon for AFib to be life-threatening, it can contribute to a variety of serious complications, including stroke. Mayo Clinic GeneGuide offers insights into how your DNA may affect your AFib risk, which can be a helpful starting point for talking with your health care provider about the condition.

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