Why is genetics important to my health?

We share a lot with our family, including what makes us healthy and what makes us sick. Research indicates that over 99% of our genes are the same. The 1% that are different affect differences you can see like hair color and height as well as many differences that you can't see, such as our risk for diabetes, heart disease, and addiction to alcohol or drugs.  In fact, the single most reliable indicator of risk for future difficulties with alcohol and drug-use is family history. Click here to learn more.

Ian's Story

All my male relatives died at an early age, and heart disease is to blame.  I had high cholesterol all my life, but because I exercised regularly and did not drink or smoke like my father and uncle, who died of heart attacks at age 53 and 63, respectively, I believed my risks were low. At age 49, I had a heart attack. This experience made me look at how much I know about nutrition.

I expanded my knowledge of the latest scientific information regarding nutrition, environment, genetics, and disease.  Eight years later, I am healthier and fitter than I have ever been and am careful to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Genes and Health

Family members share genes, habits, lifestyles, and surroundings. These things can affect health and the risk for illness. Most people have a relative with a chronic disease or a health condition such as high cholesterol. If you have a close family member with a chronic disease, you may be more likely to get that disease.

Taking time to learn about the diseases that run in your family is worth it! It will help you understand your own health and make healthy choices.

Person looking up at his family tree