Many times, we think about our health after we develop signs or symptoms. Proactive health takes that idea and flips it around—instead of waiting for problems to show up, proactive health focuses on health risk factors we may have, so we can try to stay ahead of symptoms. Some of these risk factors are genetic, and proactive genetics tries to address these. It’s a common misunderstanding to think that you can’t benefit from proactive genetics if you or your family don’t have signs of a genetic disease. This is because not all genetic conditions cause obvious symptoms in people. Some conditions may cause an increased risk to develop health problems over time.
PROACTIVE GENETICS BY THE NUMBERS
1 in 5
people who don’t have a personal
or family history of disease are still at
increased risk for a genetic disease.
1 in 6
individuals will have an actionable finding
from genetic testing of common diseases
that will change their care.
How Does Proactive
Genetic Counseling Work?
Attend an Initial Consultation
A genetic counselor will review your health history and your family’s health history. If proactive genetic testing could help, a genetic counselor can walk you through your best options, tell you about the pros and cons and help you decide if you want to proceed. A genetic counselor can also help you learn if your insurance will cover the cost of your testing.
Depending on the test, genetic testing is usually done with a saliva sample or blood sample. On average, the amount of time it takes to test results is 3 weeks. If you need to give a saliva sample, you will be sent a collection kit that you can return directly to the testing laboratory. If you need to give a blood sample, you will be scheduled to have your blood drawn at a time and place convenient to you. The wait time for results varies, depending on the test.
Review Results with a Genetic Counselor
Proactive test results can be complex. A genetic counselor can explain what your results mean—and don’t mean—so that you understand them and can meaningfully use the insights that you’ve learned.
Your genetic counselor will create a personalized action plan so that you can take advantage of what you learned and share it with your doctor. This could include adjustments to your regular health care. Your doctor is an important partner to help you maximize your proactive genetic test results and help you stay healthy.
Proactive Genetics Near Me
With Genome Medical, you can simply schedule your genetics consultation online and attend from the comfort of your own home. Secure video sessions are flexible and available to suit your schedule.
Proactive Genetics on Your Terms
You don’t need to have health problems to benefit from proactively looking into your genetics—you can pursue it on your own terms. Studies suggest that 1 in 5 of us who consider ourselves “healthy” might carry risk factors for genetic diseases. You can speak to a certified genetic counselor from Genome Medical at your own convenience or your doctor can refer you for a consultation.
Here are some reasons why someone might seek proactive genetic services:
An increased risk for certain cancer types, such as breast, ovarian, colon or prostate cancer, can be inherited in a family. Knowing you have an increased risk for cancer can allow your doctors to start your cancer screening earlier and more often to try and detect cancer earlier, if it develops.
HEART CONDITION RISK
An increased risk for certain heart conditions, such as heart rhythm problems (arrhythmia), heart muscle problems (cardiomyopathy) or high blood pressure and cholesterol, can be inherited in a family. Knowing you have an increased risk for a heart condition can allow your doctor or a heart specialist (cardiologist) to do special checks or screening tests to find a problem earlier, if it develops.
Proactive Genetic Testing
Proactive genetic testing is not one size fits all—it can focus on specific health conditions or it can be broader. This depends on your health, your family’s health and your preferences for learning health risk information. After considering this, your genetic counselor will work with you to discuss your best genetic testing options and help you make a decision. Most commonly, proactive genetic testing includes risk factors for some forms of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and how we might respond to certain medications.
Is Proactive Genetics Covered by Insurance?
Everyone’s health insurance plan is different. Some health plans cover some recommended preventive health services, like shots and screening, routinely or just once. Other plans cover them only when a doctor or other health care provider in your plan’s network provides the service or refers you for the service. It is recommended that you check with your insurance company about whether proactive genetic services or genetic testing is covered (they might fit into preventive services, preventive health care or proactive health). However, in our experience, this type of genetic testing will most often be an out-of-pocket expense that can range from $250 to $2,000, depending on the level of testing performed.
Trusted Genetic Specialists
Our clinical team is comprised of more than 50 clinicians, including medical geneticists, genetic counselors, primary care doctors and pharmacists who can provide medical services in all 50 states through our telehealth platform.
Chief Medical Officer
Steven B. Bleyl