I was born with a genetic tendency to be fat, smart, rebellious and have high blood pressure. Because my mother had high blood pressure, and my dad died of a heart attack there is a good chance that the genetic factor for high blood pressure and related issues might hunt me down one day, and I’m not too happy about that.
So, I’m sitting here thinking that maybe I should just sit back and let genetics take their toll, I mean if genetics are a factor why try? Then I started reading, and guess what? It is possible to beat the genetic odds! The choices I make about what I eat, what I drink, how often I exercise and the attitude I take towards life can have a favorable impact. Wow! We can rewrite our [so-called predestined] medical history, and we can outsmart our DNA.
I’ll start with Rheumatoid Arthritis because I have it, but I have no idea why I have it because it doesn’t seem to run in the family. RA does seem to genetically affect 60% of sufferers, and it is a cruel disease. It doesn’t kill you, it just cripples and maims you slowly over a period of time. RA is a painful, chronic autoimmune disease characterized by swollen , stiff and red joints. You are 5 to 10 times more likely to develop RA if your mom or another first-degree relative has it.
Rheumatoid arthritis often attacks during childbearing years and can cause a variety of problems including, but not limited to, damage to the heart, lungs and eyes. As well, one often suffers weight loss, fatigue, depression and low-grade fever.
Rheumatoid arthritis genetic reducers:
* Consuming three alcoholic drinks a week halves your risk (2007 Swedish study) because experts believe alcohol suppresses the inflammatory response.
* Olive oil consumed regularly seems to protect against joint inflammation. Studies indicate that taking 3 Tablespoons a day reduces the risk up to 61%
* Sun or Vitamin D reduces your risk up to 33%. Taking vitamin D supplements, eating salmon and getting sun will help you beat the genetic factors.
You’re two to three times more likely to develop Alzheimers Disease, a fatal brain disorder, if a first-hand relative has had it, and the risk increases for every additional afflicted relative.
Beat the genetics odds by:
* Stop eating sweets. High sugar diets may promote the formation of plaque in brain tissue which is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s. Cut sugar way down, especially pure sugar such as in soda or candy.
* Get out the puzzles, and start reading more. Mental stimulation and exercise helps keep your brain young! Even the brain needs exercise.
* Feast on fish once a week…think salmon, tuna and sardines. Fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that boosts the brain’s Alzheimer’s defenses. If you want to boost it even more, eat fish twice a week and beat your odds by about 60%
You stand a 14% chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes if one of your parents was diagnosed with it before the age of 50 (the odds are halved if they were younger than 50), if both parents have it your odds of getting it are 50-50
Beat the genetics odds by:
* Don’t skip meals, when you skip meals your body has to work harder to regulate blood sugar levels. Eating every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day helps your body regulate insulin, the hormone vital for healthy blood sugar regulation. Eat three fiber-filled meals, plus three healthy snacks of 100 calories or less.
* Exercise: you can lower your diabetes risk by 60% by walking at least 30 minutes a day and losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight.
* Drink coffee: Downing six cups or more reduces your likelihood getting diabetes by about 30%. IF this is too much for you even moderate consumption seems to help. The magnesium and antioxidants found in coffee improve your body’s response to insulin
Kidney Disease can be caused by diabetes and high blood pressure, both highly inheritable diseases.
Beat the genetics odds by:
* Calm down with the pain pills: 5% of new kidney disease is caused each year by chronic overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Ginger is a great pain reliever, and won’t cause any side affects.
* Cut out or cut down on soda consumption: Pop doubles your risk of kidney disease. The more I research pop the more I believe it is a killer. If you love your body stop drinking it, or drink it on special occasions. It causes kidney stones and is highly acidic.
* Cut down on salt: If kidney disease runs in your family keep your daily sodium down to no more than 1 teaspoon (2,300 milligrams) and eat more potassium. Think leafy greens, orange juice, bananas and potatoes.
Your odds of getting heart disease if both your parents have it, and if high blood pressure runs in the family is 80%! And if they were afflicted before the age of 65 your risk goes up, so this is especially something that I need to be careful of, because of our genetic propensity. Just a side note: About one-third of women with heart disease don’t experience chest pain, so watch out for other symptoms such as: nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, pain in the jaw, arms, back, neck or stomach.
Beat the genetic odds by:
* Keeping your gums and teeth healthy: brushing and flossing daily can make or break your heart attack risk. If bacteria from gum infections enter your bloodstream, they can attach to fatty plague in your heart’s blood vessels and cause blood clots.
* Eat your dairy: Think calcium and vitamin D, which help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels. If you eat your calcium eat low fat versions, the high fat versions may have the opposite affect.
* Skip the birth control pill: these little pills raise blood pressure, and heighten your chance of a heart attack and stroke. Smokers on the pill are particularly in peril, as this doubles the risk.
Yes, it is true we can genetically lean towards certain conditions, but if we understand the problem we can take steps early to keep the odds in our favor. We can beat the genetic odds, and trick our DNA into keeping us healthy and happy for a long, long time!