Last week I had a conversation with a patient who recently lost an aunt to Alzheimer's disease. She mentioned that there was a family history of Alzheimer's and dementia and she asked me if there were things that she could do to reduce the risk of acquiring these conditions herself.
I love the fact that she is thinking preventively. She recognizes the pattern in her family and she is motivated to do what she can do to reduce her risk. The exciting news is that new research is showing that many diseases and health conditions that have a hereditary link can, in many cases, be prevented with good lifestyle choices.
Epigenetics is the term that scientists use to describe how your DNA (your genes) respond to your lifestyle choices. This is kind of a complicated topic but it is extremely important so I am going to give you an example to try to simplify the concept. Let's say that a mother acquires breast cancer and she passes the gene for breast cancer on to her daughter. Just because the daughter carries the gene for breast cancer it does not mean that she will definitely acquire the disease. The lifestyle choices that she makes will either turn this gene on resulting in the formation of a tumour, or cause the gene to stay dormant (asleep) indefinitely.
The January 2018 edition of Time magazine had an article entitled, “Why Your DNA Isn't Your Destiny”. The science of epigenetics is exciting to me as a health care provider. It means that we don't have to fear family history. It means that just because we had ancestors that succumbed to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and other serious conditions, we don't have to fear the same outcome. However, it also means that we need to take responsibility for our health. It means that whether we have a family history of disease or not, we need to be proactive and practice lifestyle habits and behaviours that will promote wellness and reduce our risk of disease.
I am going to be expounding on this topic in the weeks to come because it is too complex to completely cover in one article of the week. I am also going to be reviewing the lifestyle habits and behaviours that are critical if you want to stay well and prevent disease.
In response to the above-mentioned patient's request, I am going to be starting with the lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia in next week's article of the week. You are going to notice a pattern in the habits that are required to stay healthy, whether you are looking to prevent Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, heart disease or countless other ailments that plague our modern world.
This week I want you to be clear about what epigenetics is, and how it means you are in control of your health future.
I'm looking forward to adjusting you this week!
Grace Chiropractic – 1-3230 Monarch Drive – 705-323-9100 – http://gracechiropractic.ca