Genetic Testing: How It Can Help

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Genetic testing can help patients in a variety of ways. 

From identifying the best medication, to diagnosing a disease or condition experts say the testing can make a world of difference. 

After a doctor recommended testing, Karel Vanderlugt decided to do it.

“It turns out I have one defective gene which affects my cholesterol,” Vanderlugt said. 

Vanderlugt isn’t producing a protein that’s meant for removing bad cholesterol. 

“I knew I had high cholesterol and they tried to put me on a diet to control it, but it didn’t control it. Now I know why,” Vanderlugt said.

But that’s not all he found out. 

“There’s two parts to it. One has to do with the medications you take and due to my gene makeup, how I respond to certain drugs, and the other part has to do with disease,” Vanderlugt said.

Vanderlugt discovered a medication he should avoid. 

“They put the drugs into 3 categories. Normal use, use with caution, or avoid. I only had one drug in the avoid category but it’s nice to know,” Vanderlugt said.

“There’s certain drugs that we know about that have a strong genetic influence and we know to either not use them or use reduced doses,” Dr. Eric Larson said.

Larson says it’s important that these findings are stored in your electronic medical file. 

“If a doctor at 3 in the morning wants to start you on a certain medication, lets say for a heart attack, and it’s not something that will work very well for you that needs to pop up and the physician needs to know that so they can go with an alternate drug,” Larson said.

Genetic testing can not only help the person undergoing it but it can also help family members down the line. 

“We have a daughter and a son, our son didn’t get it, he has fine cholesterol but our daughter has super high cholesterol,” Vanderlugt said. 

“Might need the genetic screening, they might need enhanced colonoscopies, maybe make sure they get their mammograms, maybe make sure they get their cholesterol checked,” Larson said. 

All this information, from a simple blood draw. 

“The more you know about your body the better,” Vanderlugt said.

To find out more information on what genetic testing can identify for you, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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