My dad asked me to take an Ancestry DNA test a few years ago as he started building out of family tree. Once the results came in (yes, he IS the father, but that’s irrelevant here lol) I downloaded the raw DNA file and uploaded it into Prometheus. This is an online service that takes that raw DNA file and matches the specific genes to published studies done in genetics and how they relate to specific health conditions.

There were many pings for things I know to be true:

  • Female
  • Red hair carrier / lighter skin tone
  • Blue or hazel eyes
  • Slightly taller
  • Able to digest milk
  • Bigger breasts
  • Able to taste bitter flavors
  • Able to smell floral scents
  • Sweet tooth
  • Blood type A

But then there were all these increased and decreased risks for things that could happen in the future or could possibly already be happening. Now what do you do with this information? Do you get proactive, knowing you are slightly elevated risk for certain cancers, or do you let life play out as it may?

Take a look at what my genes say about my future:

  • ER+ breast cancer
  • Bipolar disorder or major depression
  • Significantly decreased T4-T3 thyroid conversion
  • Psoriasis
  • Brain cancers
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Type 2 diabetes / higher BMI / obesity
  • Colorectal cancer from processed meats
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Trimethylaminuria (stinky breath and sweat after eating nitrogen-rich foods like eggs, beans and fish)
  • Hyperuracemia
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Graves disease (hyperthyroidism)
  • Alzheimers
  • Schizophrenia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Lyme disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Osteoarthritis
  • ALS
  • Migraines
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Higher HDL
  • Exceptional longevity (85+ years)
  • Less mental decline with age
  • 2 copies of “farmer gene” mean more likely to digest carb-heavy diet
  • Higher intercranial volume (2% higher IQ)
  • Parkinson’s
  • Ovarian cancers
  • Normal pain tolerance
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • No “warrior gene” – less aggressive and less anti-social

When you see that you’re at an increased risk for breast or colon cancers, or that you you have an increased risk for issues with your thyroid, do you just sit on that? Do you tell your doctor and risk looking like a loon? I am approaching 40, which is when my primary care physician said I should start mammogram screenings. She recommended colonoscopies starting at 45.

One thing I don’t want to do is approach my daily life like a hypochondriac, just waiting for some symptom of these lists to pop up. But at my next checkup when the doc is asking if there is any family history of certain conditions, I may just bring up what my genetics have to say. At least it is more communicative than family members, who come from the school of thought that you just don’t talk about your health issues.