A preventive approach to optimal health must ultimately deliver the best information possible to you, the patient. According to the Office of the Surgeon General, seven of ten Americans die each year from a preventable chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer. In addition to the high morbidity of chronic disease, there is an associated high economic cost. In order to focus efforts on prevention, Dr. Hester provides Personalized Medicine services. One of the goals of his Personalized Medicine program is to leverage genetics to support customized health care so that individuals can be proactive, rather than reactive, in regards to their wellness. In our lifetimes, Personalized Medicine will find applications in not only common disease, but a wide range of preventable disease.
Certain types of patients may derive immediate benefit:
By decoding nearly 40,000 genes in the human body, the Human Genome Project opened up an entirely new spectrum of knowledge, offering tremendous potential to improve your health. Many people mistakenly assume that the presence of a certain gene means they are destined to experience the associated disease. This is not true! Most genes have flexible expressions and often are influenced by modifiable environmental, diet and lifestyle factors.
Dr Hester says:For my patients there is great value in understanding their genetic code. Evaluation of DNA provides insight into patients’ health risks by determining their individual genetic load for a variety of conditions where genetic risk factors are well established. The conditions I am most interested in testing are those that are clinically actionable and those that contribute to the major burden of disease; such as myocardial infarction, cancer, and type II diabetes. Each of these conditions are caused by both genetic and non-genetic (behavioral, lifestyle, environment) risk factors. By providing information about the level of individual genetic risk, my patients can proactively modify their behavior and reduce their overall disease burden.
As more patients take an active role in managing their health and clinicians focus on prevention, these diagnostic tests provide a more complete picture of health and help identify problems before chronic conditions and diseases develop. Whether or not you choose to “see” your genes, they are always there and will continue to play an important role in your health. By choosing to look at them, you have the opportunity to influence the ultimate outcome and more actively promote a healthy life.
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