I am 28 years old and born into a Sikh family. I don’t smoke and I seldom drink alcohol except for the celebratory glass of wine once in maybe a few months. I have been diligent and consistent with my workouts for the last 5 or 6 years. I eat pretty clean for the most part but I do allow a cheat meal or two. These lifestyle decisions are things I can control. However, our bodies predisposition for disease, chronic illness is determined by both our genes and lifestyle.
A lot of us shudder at the thought of genetic testing because let’s face it, the consensus is that ignorance is bliss and while I understand that notion wholeheartedly, something inside me has changed. I lost my cousin to leukemia a few years ago and my grandfather to heart disease and a stroke. This, as you can imagine, was really hard for everyone at home. My grandfather was a teetotaller, practiced yoga every morning, could do a headstand at 80 and otherwise very healthy. I’ve been very curious about the roles that genetics play in personality traits as well as predisposition for diseases like certain cancers, cardiac ailments and auto immune issues.
I have been visiting the Aayna Clinic for almost two years now and I remember glancing at a flyer for Map My genome on one visit. Genetic testing is still pretty uncommon in India primarily due to the lack of testing centers but also because people aren’t very willing to assess their risk factors just yet.
I don’t know if you are aware of Angeline Jolie’s decision to undergo a hysterectomy and a double mastectomy when she found out that she carried a mutation in the #BRCA1 cancer gene. However, I do know, that this propelled a lot of women to take their health into their own hands and volunteer for comprehensive #genetesting. A lot of what we inherit comes from our parents and their parents. This could include your heightened risk for certain cancers and heart disease, strokes or your tolerance for alcohol and coffee.
There’s been a ton of speculation and controversy in the space of gene testing but I think its important to add that gene mapping can serve to nip problems in the bud and facilitate earlier treatments if necessary. Early detection is the call of the day particularly with so many cancers that are steadily on the rise. The staff at Mapmygenome got onto a call with me and once that was done, I proceeded to give my saliva sample via a diligent cheek swab. The most comprehensive test, Genomepatri examines genetic predisposition to over a hundred conditions while Genomepatri Lite covers fifty conditions with the option of an upgrade. The conditions covered in Genomepatri and Genomapatri Lite range from auto immune conditions, cancers, cardiac markers, endocrine issues, mood related disorders and your sensitivity to medications.
The two reports accompanying the test along with the genetic counselling session help enable you with all the knowledge you need to take your health into your own hands. The team at Mapmygenome helps lay out the steps you would need to take to delay or prevent the acquired risks. As the Genomepatri test needs to be done only once in your lifetime, it’s a great health investment and comes highly recommended.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have my apprehensions going in for this test. Growing up, I have always been more cautious and been the worrier in the family. My friends were worried that I would get preoccupied about the results and wouldn’t be able to wind down or get adequate sleep. Luckily for me, I was travelling for work for almost 3 weeks after I gave my sample. When I returned, I received an email with the results. The results were pretty straight forward and easy to read but they came with a caveat that the test aims to serve as risk assessment and not as a sentence looming over your head. I was worried for a few days but the team at Mapmygenome quickly scheduled a counselling session with Pooja- A Johns Hopkins Graduate who was very patient with me. She systematically went through the entire report with me and made sure that she answered every question along the way. I have to admit that I was a little worried to see that I was at a high risk for certain auto immune conditions like ulcerative colitis and cancers. On the plus side, however, I learnt that I would not suffer from metabolic issues or bone density issues like arthritis and osteopenia. An hour and a half later, I knew exactly which things I should be worried about and stuff I needed to put away for later. I have to say I was very impressed to learn that I had a low tolerance for caffeine and that I was better suited to sports with quick bursts of activity and strength training and that I had a lower likelihood of becoming overweight or obese.
Why should you go in for the test?
If you want to change your lifestyle habits and get healthier.
If you are interested in preventing or delaying the onset of diseases that you might be predisposed to
To understand genetic health patterns in your family that will help you make informed decisions.
To know your resilience in stressful situations and how this gene can help you fight anxiety, stress and even depression. To check the efficacy of certain medicines and whether they should be substituted for others in the case of an emergency. To know which
In retrospect, I am very happy that I decided to muster the courage to go in for the comprehensive genomepatri test because knowledge is power and I will be better equipped to deal with my health from now on. The process is very efficient and you don’t need to worry about anything. If you choose to have the test at home, someone from the Mapmygenome team will come to leave the kit and collect the cheek swab from your residence. In the event, you choose to have it done at Aayna Clinic, the team at Aayna will organise this for you. The genetic counselling that comes in post your reports about 6 weeks from the test is comprehensive. The counsellor takes over an hour with you either on skype or over a phone to answer all your questions, allay your fears. The team at Mapmygenome will then issue another email with all the guidance and tests you might need to have done. I know the full genomepatri is expensive but it is well worth the price because you only need to do it once and you end up with invaluable information that is great for you and your physician. I can’t recommend this enough and with the fabulous team there to support you- there is no reason why you shouldn’t opt for this.
Special thanks to the team at Mapmygenome, Dr Jaishree and Pooja Ramchandran for being so patient with me and answering all my questions and to Aayna Clinic for giving me this opportunity to take my health into my own hands.
Founded in January 2013, Mapmygenome is India’s pioneering Genomics Company with a vision to “Touch 100 million lives and save a million lives by 2030.” Backed by 16+ years of experience in genomics, the founders of Mapmygenome set up a molecular diagnostics company for people who are proactive about their health. We offer personalized health solutions based on genetic tests that help people know more about themselves.
As you are aware, our health, habits, physiology, and psyche have a strong hereditary component, the information for which is coded in our genome – the DNA sequence that forms the building block of our cells. A better understanding of this unique make up is the key to understanding yourself.
The future of healthcare will be personalized, predictive, preventative and participatory and that begins with an understanding of genomics.
Address: Mapmygenome, Royal Demeure, Plot no 12/2, HUDA Techno Enclave, Sector -1, Madhapur, Hyderabad, India
You can also come in to Aayna Clinic for your cheek swab and have the results mailed to you 4-6 weeks later.
A Dr Simal Soin Initiative
Ambawatta One, H-5/5, First Floor
Kalkadas Marg, Mehrauli
New Delhi 110030
For appointments- #9109650206153/ 9659205873
P. S- if you would like to speak to me at length about my experience and you would like to know more, please write in to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Until next time, xxx