Sunday, August 22, 2004

How are my genes, doctor?

Am very interested in this story from the BBC about developing tests for the risk of developing certain conditions. Heart disease runs in R's family - he developed angina and had a heart attack when he was just 30 (and will be on beta blockers, statins and aspirin for the rest of his life). His father and uncles have had bypass surgery. So of course we worry and wonder about O's risk of developing heart disease too. We've discussed it with our GP, who says at the moment there is no test available for the kind of familial predisposition that seems to run in the family. But she did say to go back and ask again in 5 years or so, as she thought testing would've developed to the point she could refer us to a genetics clinic.

But even without testing, we know there's an increased risk for O. It's more important than usual that he doesn't smoke (so another reason for me to be glad I've quit), that he stays active (no problem there at the mo, he loves to play out with his friends) and eats a sensible diet (again no probs there, he loves fruit and veg). It's fairly easy to control these things when he's 4, but gets harder the older he gets. The crucial time will be when he is a young adult/adolescent - which is if course the time he is least likely to take parental advice or do what's 'good for him'. Ah well, no point crossing that bridge before we come to it.

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