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Common hereditary diseases

Hereditary disorders or diseases refers to genetically inherited diseases.  Through defective genes, hereditary diseases are transmitted from one generation to another in the same family.  Genetic mutations cause hereditary diseases, and thus the terms genetic and hereditary are interchangeably utilised. However, though a gene mutation causes hereditary diseases, it is not always that genetic disorders are hereditary. The mutations can either be caused by factors in the environment or occur randomly. It is always important to insure your health. Use review sites such as Britainreviews.co.uk to read reviews about health insurance UK companies and thus get your health insurance cover from a reliable company. Below some of the common hereditary diseases are discussed.

Cystic Fibrosis

This hereditary disease is caused by the mutation of the gene that affects the cells responsible for the production of sweat, digestive juices and mucus. It causes the mucus to become sticky and thick, resulting in significant damage to the reproductive and digestive systems. When a child only inherits a single copy of the defective gene, they become carriers and could potentially pass these genes to their offspring. On the other hand, children who inherit a double copy of the defective gene, a copy from both parent, will have Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is most common among white people with ancestry of Northern Europe.

Haemophilia

This condition tends to affect males more. It is characterised by an insufficiency in the clotting of blood which causes bleeding abnormally. Typically the gene responsible for haemophilia is found on the X chromosome, which encodes gender. Because males only contain an X and Y chromosome and only inherit a single copy of the X chromosome from their mothers. If their mother is a carrier of the gene with the mutation, they have an increased chance of inheriting haemophilia. Females have double X chromosomes, one from their father and the other from their mother. This fact typically means that most women having the gene mutation are carriers, with no symptoms or any sign of Haemophilia.

Tay-Sachs

This is a deadly genetic disorder that can progressively destroy the nervous system. It is triggered by gene defects, leading to a lack of a critical enzyme known as hexosaminidase-A (Hex-A).  There’s a 50% chance of carriers of the defective gene passing it to their children. If a child only inherits a single gene, they are carriers of Tay-Sachs. On the other hand, if a child gets the gene that’s defective from each parent, they’ll get the disease. Tay-Sachs cases are high in persons of eastern European  Jewish descent.

Muscular Dystrophy

This hereditary disorder occurs when defective genes restrict the production of proteins essential for the healthy development of muscles. It manifests itself with symptoms such as loss of muscle mass and progressive muscle weakness, which start in a person’s childhood. The disorder can affect all races and ages. There are also various types of Muscular Dystrophy, and Duchenne is the most common type and is common among young boys. Most of the types are inherited.

Huntington’s Disease

This is a hereditary disease that manifests itself in mid-life. It results in the brain’s nerves cells progressive breakdown, which results in loss of muscle and brain function. Huntington’s disease is an autosomal dominant disorder meaning that only a single copy of the gene that’s defective is needed for a person to have the disorder. Each of the parents with a defective gene can either pass a healthy copy or the defective copy. This leaves a child having a 50% chance of getting the disease.

Sickle Cell Disease

This is a hereditary disease caused when one of the genes encoding the haemoglobin protein has a mutation. Red blood cells having the abnormal haemoglobin protein have a sickle shape. Sickle Cell Disease results in substantial damage to the kidneys, lungs, and heart and causes chronic anaemia. If each parent has the defective gene, there is a probability of 25% that the child will have Sickle Cell Disease. If a child only inherits a single copy of the defective gene, they won’t get the disease. However, there is a 50% probability of the child being a carrier.

In conclusion, a person’s family history has some vital information regarding their past and future. By studying one’s family history, carefully one can diagnose and make decisions regarding their genetic makeup and know if they or their offsprings are at risk of developing hereditary diseases. There exist many different hereditary conditions, and this article has gone through some of the most common.