Your family’s genetic history does not determine your future

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

The relationship between DNA and health is complex. Mother Nature packs about 20,000 genes into every chromosome in each cell in our bodies, and some of us get high cholesterol and nearsightedness, while others get clear arteries and 20/20 vision.

For some conditions, such as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the link is brutally clear. If one of your parents has it, the odds are 50-50 that you’ll get it, too. Other connections are murkier. People born with certain genes linked to obesity are between 20 and 30 percent more likely to be obese.

The upshot? Much of the time, family history is not destiny. Lifestyle tweaks can change your genetic makeup to prevent or delay illness. In fact, the simple act of taking charge of your genetic destiny is likely to improve your health, says Margie Lachman, a health psychologist at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. The secret is maintaining a sturdy sense of control while acknowledging that health is about probabilities, not promises.

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Read full, original post: How to Defy Your Genes

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