There’s a reason that your doctor asks for your family history, it’s because you might be carrying a gene that could substantially increase your chances of suffering from a certain health problem yourself. Here are five of the most common genetic conditions to be on the lookout for, and a few suggestions for how you can prevent, detect, avoid, and treat them.

1.) Obesity

Yes, obesity is a disease, and it’s a scary one. You have things like high blood pressure and diabetes to worry about, in addition. Putting those with the genetic predisposal in even greater danger are environmental conditions. Poor diets, an abundance of cheap and quick fast food, and a lack of exercise are just three factors that we’re battling in the fight against obesity.

2.) Alcoholism

It might seem like it doesn’t belong here, but alcoholism is most definitely a disease—and one that parents can pass down to their children. The Betty Ford Institute shared a study done on adopted men, which found that when they had an alcoholic father, they were more like to be alcoholics than the men who didn’t have alcoholic fathers—despite the fact that they were raised by another family!

Of course, environmental conditions play a huge factor here, as they do with obesity. Evidence shows, though, that alcoholism can and does run in your blood.

3.) Breast Cancer

According to livestrong.com, one in nine women stands a chance of getting breast cancer, and that’s before you consider family history. The best solution is early detection. Self-exams and regular visits to your doctor for a physical and a mammogram are your safest bet.

4.) Heart Diseases

Do your parents or any relatives in your extended family deal with heart attacks or high blood pressure? If so, let your doctor know, because the same conditions could have been passed on to you. If you’re more prone to any kind of heart complication whatsoever, dedicate some of your time and energy to living a heart healthy lifestyle. This means no nasty fast food habits and getting in some weights and cardio several times a week. You might have to work a little harder than most people to stay heart healthy, but you’ll be glad you did—and so will the people who care about you.

5.) Acne

It may sound superficial compared to the previous conditions, but that doesn’t make it any less damaging, both physically and emotionally. Not only can acne leave scars on your face, but it can leave them on your self-esteem, too; and studies have shown that you’re more likely to have this skin condition if your parents did before you.

To help clear your skin, find the cleanser that’s right for you. (Do you have oily skin? Dry skin? A combination?) If you wear make-up, then consider using an astringent after the cleanser, since cleanser can often miss a lot of the leftovers. Wash your pillowcases regularly and keep all make-up brushes and sponges clean. If your case is more severe, consult your dermatologist for something stronger.

Don’t let your potential genetic make-up startle you; just know that you might need to pay a little more attention to your health than other people might. Talk to your doctor, pay attention to your body, and you’ll live a healthy life.

Featured photo credit:  Senior woman using some medicines via Shutterstock

Love this article?