Does Genetics Play A Significant Role In Gastro Conditions?
There are many traits that can be passed down from parent to child, such as blood group, skin tone, colour blindness, and eye colour. However, do you know that your gut and digestive health is also hereditary?
You did not read it wrongly. There are several gastro conditions that can be inherited from your parents, meaning you have them because either your parents have specific genes that got passed down to you that gave you the gastro conditions or your parents suffer from the same conditions themselves.
However, it is not as simple as suffering from various IBS symptoms because your parents suffered from it, too. Genetics is a complicated topic. As such, we will explore more about the role of genetics in gastroenterology conditions in this article.
Are GI and stomach issues hereditary?
The human genome that you inherited from your parents plays a vital role in the functions and conditions of your body. In fact, many diseases involving the gastrointestinal organs have a genetic predisposition that is involved in disease expression or is inherited. In some cases, being made aware of your family medical history can help you take preventive measures when taking care of your health. You can do so by taking screening or diagnostic tests that are available commercially.
All in all, extensive medical research has proven the undeniable influence of genetics on GI conditions, from cancers to cystic fibrosis. When it comes to gut disorders, a couple of examples include hereditary hemochromatosis or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Both of these conditions develop as a result of a genetic mutation that is typically inherited from either parent.
Hereditary hemochromatosis affects the endocrine system, pancreas, heart, and liver. It is a disorder that results in the affected individual to over-absorb iron from their diet. It is usually caused by a genetic mutation of either SLC40A1, TFR2, HAMP, HJV, or HFE – all of which are associated with the production of proteins that transport and regulate iron in our body. Some symptoms of hemochromatosis include fatigue, hair loss, and skin darkening.
FAP is one of two significant types of adenomatous polyposis coli syndrome, the other being Garner’s syndrome. The majority of individuals with FAP typically develop colonic adenomas when they are young, with the possibility of the adenomas to develop into cancer cells over time. In fact, most develop colon cancer by the age of 50.
Other inherited GI and stomach issues include lactose intolerance, which is more manageable and less severe. Lactose intolerance occurs when both copies of the child’s LCT gene mutate, affecting how the body produces the enzyme lactase.
There are also GI and stomach conditions that require the genetic mutation. However, not everybody with the genetic mutation will develop the disease. An example of this would be celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by consuming gluten, a protein that can be found in grains such as rye, barley, and wheat. There is a 1 out of 10 chance of developing celiac disease if a close family member has it.
All in all, there are many gastrointestinal conditions that are hereditary, including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, polycystic liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis, Budd-Chiari syndrome, Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, and Wilson disease.
Genetics are just a tiny part of your gut health. The rest boils down to other factors – diet, lifestyle, and environment. What we consume daily impacts our gut health. For example, a high-fibre diet can protect us against IBD, IBS, and acid reflux. On the other hand, too much red meat and processed meat can increase the risk of developing diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel, and colon cancer.
Ensuring that you have sufficient exercise and sleep is also vital for a healthy gut system. Lastly, how we protect ourselves from our environment helps, too. That means avoiding viral infections as much as possible.
With that being said, incorporating regular screenings and checkups is vital, especially if you have a family history of gut issues. Here at GUTCARE, we provide extensive digestive care services that are guaranteed to keep you healthy and safe. Take charge of your gut health today!
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