How Genetic Testing can Help with Obesity

woman jogging through cityHow would you feel if a medication could be designed specifically just for you?

Although individualized medications are still a long way off, healthcare, as a whole, is moving in a similar direction. More and more treatments are built around specific genetic markers that can predict certain types of illness.

Genetic testing allows people to recognize risk factors and take appropriate actions earlier before specific disorders develop. This can help them delay the onset of conditions that they may be predisposed to – or even avoid them entirely.

Precision Medicine is Becoming the Future of Healthcare

Genes don’t just tell you what types of illnesses you may be vulnerable to, they also help your medical care team determine what treatments might be most effective. With more potent medical tests coming out seemingly every day, accurate treatment targeting is easier than ever.

As of today, many medications available on the open market are effective only for a relatively small subset of patients. Through testing, it becomes possible to determine which treatments are most likely to be effective.  This saves patients money while accelerating their path to the right care options.

The Potential of Precision Medicine in 2017 and Beyond

The Food and Drug Administration recently acknowledged the growing value of precision medicine. In a July 2017 blog, the federal agency pointed out a number of recent FDA approvals have focused on targeted therapies intended for use in patients with certain genetic traits.

These approvals have expanded the scope of precision medicine treatments for cancer and cystic fibrosis. The approval of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in particular is a landmark case. It is the first time the FDA has approved a cancer treatment based on a genetic feature.

Conventional treatment focuses on where in the body cancer has been found.

Cancer, in particular, can have a wide range of distinguishing genetic characteristics. With more than 1.6 million people diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year, precision medicine is sure to become central to cancer treatment over time.

Other widespread conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease, show a blend of genetic and age-related factors. Using precision medicine may be possible to significantly prolong health and improve the quality of life for those with a positive diagnosis.

Precision Medicine for Obesity

Precision medicine and genetic testing can also directly aid in obesity. The tests assess cardiovascular risk to determine certain nutritional programs that will allow a patient to eat for their genetics and not against. In addition, these tests can determine which exercises enhance specific outcomes.

Coming Soon to the Diabetes/Weight Loss Center

Dr. Purcell will soon be partnering with organizations that will provide this information. As a result, she will be able to tailor a patient’s diabetes and obesity medicine care to their genetic profile and begin to see further weight loss and health goals.

As scientists uncover more about the importance of genetics – the essence of each individual’s personal health landscape – it’s time to reassess medical treatment. Standards of care must advance to take into account the wealth of useful information genetics can offer.

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