Beating family history

Doctors To Youhealth, highlight1, Wellness

As house call doctors, we’re giving you permission to be picky about what you want to inherit from family. Family heirlooms and money? That’s okay. But heart disease and diabetes? No, thank you.

When you think about spending time with family, especially during the holiday season, you’re probably focused on the food, the fun times, the gifts you give and the ones you receive. The last thing you might be thinking about is your family history when it comes to health and what your family may actually be passing on to you.

There’s a lot we can do to control our own destiny when it comes to most of our decisions with health, wellness, fitness, and overall lifestyle. However, we inherit much more than just hair color and eye shape. Indeed, some of the diseases and disorders that we may suffer from that match those of our parents and grandparents may come as more of a predisposition rather than the sentence we are made to believe we have to serve.

As concierge medical providers, like to bring you information and healthful resolutions, and not just bad news and prescriptions to manage it. So with the most common genetic diseases, just know that ultimately you have the power to control many of them.




As house call doctors, we’re giving you permission to be picky about what you want to inherit from family. Family heirlooms and money? That’s okay. But heart disease and diabetes? No, thank you.

When you think about spending time with family, especially during the holiday season, you’re probably focused on the food, the fun times, the gifts you give and the ones you receive. The last thing you might be thinking about is your family history when it comes to health and what your family may actually be passing on to you.

There’s a lot we can do to control our own destiny when it comes to most of our decisions with health, wellness, fitness, and overall lifestyle. However, we inherit much more than just hair color and eye shape. Indeed, some of the diseases and disorders that we may suffer from that match those of our parents and grandparents may come as more of a predisposition rather than the sentence we are made to believe we have to serve.

As concierge medical providers, like to bring you information and healthful resolutions, and not just bad news and prescriptions to manage it. So with the most common genetic diseases, just know that ultimately you have the power to control many of them.




Why do we inherit diseases?

Genetic diseases come in several different forms: Single gene inheritance, Multifactorial inheritance, Chromosome abnormalities, and Mitochondrial inheritance.

Not to overwhelm you with science, we’ll simply say that this means that there can be a gene abnormality or instance where your parents/family all have the same gene sequence, and therefore, you have it.

Some examples of single-gene disorders include:

  1. cystic fibrosis,
  2. alpha- and beta-thalassemias,
  3. sickle cell anemia (sickle cell disease),
  4. Huntington disease

Multifactorial inheritance is also called complex or polygenic inheritance. “Multifactorial inheritance means that ‘many factors’ (multifactorial) are involved… The factors are usually both genetic and environmental, where a combination of genes from both parents, in addition to unknown environmental factors, produce the trait or condition.”

According to Medicinenet.com, these are 7 of the most common multifactorial diseases:

  1. heart disease,
  2. high blood pressure,
  3. Alzheimer's disease,
  4. arthritis,
  5. diabetes,
  6. cancer, and
  7. obesity.

“Structural abnormalities are when part of an individual chromosome is missing, extra, switched to another chromosome or turned upside down. Chromosomal abnormalities can occur as an accident when the egg or the sperm is formed or during the early developmental stages of the fetus.”

With mitochondrial disorders, “all maternally inherited diseases are mitochondrial disorders.”



Overcoming our unwanted inheritance

Did you know that heart disease, diabetes, and even most cancers are completely preventable?

The multifactorial inheritance disorders are the ones we generally have the most control over.  Although it may be tougher for you in the long haul, and things, like losing weight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and managing blood sugar, may take you longer than it does your friends, there are still some things you can do so that you don’t end up suffering the same fate as the family before you.

  1. Avoid the same exact diet as your family. We generally eat an identical diet or eat in the same way as our family, which leads to us suffering the same fate when it comes to these chronic preventable diseases. Avoid high salt, high sugar diets, and change your focus to whole foods (lots of fruits and veggies), limit processed foods, especially meats, and change your cooking methods to include more fresh or steamed food, rather than deep-fried.
  2. Get (or stay) physically active. If exercise is not a part of your lifestyle, add a regimen. If you work out regularly now, don’t let life start getting in the way. Regular exercise can prevent or ease the onset of arthritis and other types of pain. It’s also a way to help keep your heart strong and prevent heart disease that can be exacerbated because of a sedentary lifestyle.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. This can sometimes be easier said than done. Depending on the disorder, this can be hard even if you eat right and exercise, but do your best.
  4. Avoid or reduce stress. There’s no question that with work and other obligations, we are a stressed-out society. Do not underestimate the value of destressing. Taking time to relax, and taking up activities like meditation and yoga can play a major role in helping you avoid chronic diseases like high blood pressure and anxiety.
  5. Don’t smoke (or drink): We know that smoking contributes to all kinds of health problems for both the smoker and bystanders, but if alcoholism is a family issue, you should probably avoid drinking as well, as alcoholism can also be an inherited disease.

Why do we inherit diseases?

Genetic diseases come in several different forms: Single gene inheritance, Multifactorial inheritance, Chromosome abnormalities, and Mitochondrial inheritance.

Not to overwhelm you with science, we’ll simply say that this means that there can be a gene abnormality or instance where your parents/family all have the same gene sequence, and therefore, you have it.

Some examples of single-gene disorders include:

  1. cystic fibrosis,
  2. alpha- and beta-thalassemias,
  3. sickle cell anemia (sickle cell disease),
  4. Huntington disease

Multifactorial inheritance is also called complex or polygenic inheritance. “Multifactorial inheritance means that ‘many factors’ (multifactorial) are involved… The factors are usually both genetic and environmental, where a combination of genes from both parents, in addition to unknown environmental factors, produce the trait or condition.”

According to Medicinenet.com, these are 7 of the most common multifactorial diseases:

  1. heart disease,
  2. high blood pressure,
  3. Alzheimer's disease,
  4. arthritis,
  5. diabetes,
  6. cancer, and
  7. obesity.

“Structural abnormalities are when part of an individual chromosome is missing, extra, switched to another chromosome or turned upside down. Chromosomal abnormalities can occur as an accident when the egg or the sperm is formed or during the early developmental stages of the fetus.”

With mitochondrial disorders, “all maternally inherited diseases are mitochondrial disorders.”



Overcoming our unwanted inheritance

Did you know that heart disease, diabetes, and even most cancers are completely preventable?

The multifactorial inheritance disorders are the ones we generally have the most control over.  Although it may be tougher for you in the long haul, and things, like losing weight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and managing blood sugar, may take you longer than it does your friends, there are still some things you can do so that you don’t end up suffering the same fate as the family before you.

  1. Avoid the same exact diet as your family. We generally eat an identical diet or eat in the same way as our family, which leads to us suffering the same fate when it comes to these chronic preventable diseases. Avoid high salt, high sugar diets, and change your focus to whole foods (lots of fruits and veggies), limit processed foods, especially meats, and change your cooking methods to include more fresh or steamed food, rather than deep-fried.
  2. Get (or stay) physically active. If exercise is not a part of your lifestyle, add a regimen. If you work out regularly now, don’t let life start getting in the way. Regular exercise can prevent or ease the onset of arthritis and other types of pain. It’s also a way to help keep your heart strong and prevent heart disease that can be exacerbated because of a sedentary lifestyle.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. This can sometimes be easier said than done. Depending on the disorder, this can be hard even if you eat right and exercise, but do your best.
  4. Avoid or reduce stress. There’s no question that with work and other obligations, we are a stressed-out society. Do not underestimate the value of destressing. Taking time to relax, and taking up activities like meditation and yoga can play a major role in helping you avoid chronic diseases like high blood pressure and anxiety.
  5. Don’t smoke (or drink): We know that smoking contributes to all kinds of health problems for both the smoker and bystanders, but if alcoholism is a family issue, you should probably avoid drinking as well, as alcoholism can also be an inherited disease.





If you need a little extra help and inside, we now have affordable genetics testing kits that can help give you an idea about some aspects of your health that are just in your DNA, many of which you may not even know about. There are also books like, How Not to Die, which can help you set your own course for how to live in good health regardless of your genes.

In the end, don’t be hard on yourself. Genes aren’t everything, and you certainly have the power to overcome them and change how they function overall. Knowledge about health is so important, so continue making changes as you age to avoid the same fate as your family before you.



If you need a little extra help and inside, we now have affordable genetics testing kits that can help give you an idea about some aspects of your health that are just in your DNA, many of which you may not even know about. There are also books like, How Not to Die, which can help you set your own course for how to live in good health regardless of your genes.

In the end, don’t be hard on yourself. Genes aren’t everything, and you certainly have the power to overcome them and change how they function overall. Knowledge about health is so important, so continue making changes as you age to avoid the same fate as your family before you.