Health One Family Medicine

4 Diseases You Can Inherit from Your Family

Hereditary diseases are described as diseases that run in families. They are often passed down from one or both parents to a child, who may then pass it to their children. Genetic mutations cause hereditary diseases. While all hereditary diseases are gene mutations, not all gene mutations are hereditary.  Genetic mutations can also occur without reason or due to an environmental factor.

Suppose you have a family history of diseases or know of common family health problems. In that case, you should continue reading this blog for more information about hereditary diseases and steps that you should take.

4 Diseases that Run in Families

1. Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a disease that occurs as a result of a gene mutation that affects the cells that produce digestive juices, sweat and mucus. Most people with this condition produce thick and sticky mucus that can cause severe damage to their respiratory, reproductive and digestive systems.

Children who inherit only one copy of the faulty gene are carriers of cystic fibrosis which means that they can pass the gene on to their own children. On the other hand, children who inherit more than one copy of the defective gene, one per parent, will most likely develop cystic fibrosis.

2. Hemophilia

Hemophilia is described as a deficiency in blood clotting that leads to abnormal bleeding. It is most common in males. The hemophilia gene is located on the X chromosome that encodes gender.

Males have both X and Y chromosomes, but they inherit only one copy of their mother’s X chromosome. So, if their mother is a carrier of the mutated gene, they will most likely inherit hemophilia.

On the other hand, females have two X chromosomes, one from their mother and one from their father. One of them usually has a healthy copy of the gene. Hence, most women with the mutation are carriers of hemophilia do not experience any signs or symptoms.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases that run in families. In this condition, blood sugar levels are abnormal. Many people learn about their diabetes after problems start to develop. Symptoms occur when the body fails to change sugar and other food into energy. This happens when the body cannot make or use a hormone called insulin.

Diabetes can cause several serious problems, such as blindness, kidney failure, and even death. A doctor can detect diabetes early and prescribe treatment to prevent or delay these dangerous health conditions.

4. Cancer

Cancer is caused by the growth and spread of abnormal cells. Though your risk of getting cancer increases as you get older, genetic and environmental factors also cause people to be at a higher risk for certain types of cancer. Some of the most common inherited cancers are breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.

Breast cancer:

This is a type of cancer that forms in the tissues of the breast. It is one of the most common family health problems among women. Men, although rare, can also get breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer is higher if a woman has close blood relatives who have or had the disease.

Lung cancer:

Lung cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of cells in one or both lungs. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women. Around 87% of lung cancer cases in the United States are due to smoking.

Prostate cancer:

Men can develop prostate cancer regardless of their age. However, the majority of the cases occur in men over older than 65. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer increases a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer more than 2 times. The more number of relatives who have it, the greater are your chances of getting it, especially if the relatives were less than 50 years old when they got it.

What to Do if a Disease Runs in Your Family

  • Learn about common family health problems and medical history.
  • Know which diseases can be inherited.
  • Consider getting genetic counseling.
  • Talk to your doctor to determine your risk.

Contact Health One Family Medicine Today for a Checkup

Knowing about diseases that run in families can be scary. It makes you wonder if you have or can inherit one. Talk to a provider at Health One Family Medicine, tell them all about your family’s medical history and get tested for mutations. Our providers can help you take preventative measures to decrease your chances for inheriting a disease later in life. To make an appointment with a Health One Family Medicine physician, visit or call (469)262-5762 today.

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