February 10, 2009

Lifestyle changes: might genetics help?

I just read this: - Disease Diagnosis Can Spur Change in Lifestyle. Study found smokers, obese more likely to change when given bad news about health -

Being diagnosed with a serious condition such as heart disease or diabetes can prompt middle-aged and older adults to make health behavior changes, such as quitting smoking or losing weight, a Yale University study shows.

The full article can be found on Medlineplus

So, returning to what I was writing yesterday on Genetic Tests for Heart Disease, maybe it is in our human nature to think that something (especially the bad things) will happen to others and not to us, and to change our bad lifestyle habits only when something scares us.

This depicts the failure of primary preventive medicine. Interestingly the Covert Rationing Blog already entitles a post: Why Preventive Medicine Can Be Harmful To Our Health.

So this is the point: maybe genetic susceptibility tests, even if with all their limits of interpretation, could stand between the doing nothing, persisting in bad lifestyle habits, and changing lifestyle when the disease is already there and the body compromised.

What I'm saying is that even a 0,01% increased chance of having a disease, in comparison to the normal population, may scare someone and make him change lifestyle. If that is the way patients think, maybe that's the method preventive medicine might work effectively.

And for those who would find out they have no genetic predisposition or protective genes? Professional counseling before, during and after the tests could explain how environmental factors might be much more important and get those lifestyle changes in action in any case.

Seems very complicated but it might be indeed an idea.

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