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Genetic Predisposition Definition
Genetic Predisposition – the tendency to develop a health condition as a consequence of the interaction between genetics and lifestyle factors. Doctors believe genetic influences underlie many if not all health conditions that develop over time, such as HYPERTENSION (high BLOOD PRESSURE), ATHEROSCLEROSIS, OSTEOARTHRITIS, RENAL FAILURE, LIVER disease, and type 2 DIABETES. An individual’s GENOTYPE establishes genetic vulnerability through mechanisms researchers do not fully understand.
These genetic elements influence the effects of environmental factors such as cigarette smoking, physical activity and inactivity, exposure to chemical toxins, ALCOHOL consumption, and nutrition (lack of certain NUTRIENTS or excesses of other nutrients) in the development of disease processes. Once the disease becomes established, its genetic underpinnings may allow more rapid progression of damage or severity of symptoms.
Unlike GENETIC DISORDERS that encode for specific disturbances of structures and functions that inevitably produce a disease state (such as DOWN SYNDROME), genetic predisposition for a condition does not make that condition certain. Many doctors and researchers believe knowing of genetic predispositions gives an individual the opportunity to engage in lifestyle modifications to prevent health problems from developing.
See also LIFESTYLE AND HEALTH.