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Genetics

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The way we treat our bodies sets us up for life. If you plan to live a sedentary lifestyle, while eating foods that don’t optimise your health, your future is going to be affected in a bad way. Everything we do today in life is going to impact how we live in ten or twenty years from now. The job we hold, the relationships we have and the children we plan to have all affect our future, even if you don’t realise it at this moment.

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The world is moving forward in science and medicine at a rapid rate, but that doesn’t mean that you should slow your healthy lifestyle down because it’s there to help you. Science won’t save you if you don’t take care of yourself; it’s something you should want on your own. Eating the right food will affect everything in your body from your heart health to your fertility. Did you know that coronary heart disease is the USA’s leading cause of death?

Heart disease develops in later life, but if you don’t look after your heart when you are young, you have the potential to become another statistic. A simple diet change can decrease the risk of heart disease drastically, and a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains can help you to avoid it. You could be twenty years old and loving life; partying every weekend and not taking care of your diet or fitness because your high metabolism now keeps you at a healthy weight. Being a healthy weight doesn’t mean you are a healthy person, and the way you treat yourself now DOES matter.

People are living longer and healthier due to making better lifestyle choices. Food, fitness and a good understanding of their genetic history can make a big difference in how they live their lives. So, how does your lifestyle affect your future? How can you make changes to ensure you live a life of optimised health?

Food

Health is about food, we all know this. Enjoying what you eat is important, but ensuring you eat healthily is paramount. If you eat more calories than you burn, the surplus energy will convert to body fat and stick to your organs and your bones, making you overweight. This way of living is unhealthy and increases your risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, joint pain and a general feeling of sluggishness. You should understand how your food habits impact your day to day choices.

Eating a diet full of saturated fats, sugars and carbohydrates is not going to do your body any favours as time goes on. It may taste wonderful to eat a few cheeseburgers after a heavy night of drinking, but it won’t help your health. Your weight doesn’t just affect your heart and risk of diabetes, but your fertility. If you plan to have children, a healthy lifestyle is a must if you want to conceive and be around long enough to watch your child grow. Food is the first place you should fix to ensure this isn’t going to be affected.

Ensuring you eat a healthy, balanced diet is the only way to live a healthy lifestyle. Alcohol shouldn’t be binged on during the week or at the weekend, as the effects of alcohol on the brain and the internal organs can lead to issues in later life. This is especially true of the liver. Binge drinking in young adulthood leads to liver diseases and other abdominal issues that sometimes cannot be overcome. Educate yourself on healthy eating habits and teach yourself how to cook from scratch. Cooking in healthy fats and oils can also do well for your heart and stave off any long-term diseases that can be painful to fix. Pacemakers may be an exciting medical advancement but it doesn’t mean you should want one inserted.

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Fitness

A sedentary lifestyle isn’t the way to live. People who say they don’t have the time to exercise aren’t looking hard enough to find the minutes in the day to fit a workout in. With the range of high intensity interval training workouts like these on YouTube, there’s no excuse not to find ten minutes in the day to get that heart pumping and the body working. Not taking care of your fitness can lead to joint issues, heart issues and general pain that is hard to reverse. It sucks, but it can sometimes take killing yourself in your job and personal life and ending up with a health scare to nudge you into action.

Skipping the chance to work out in favour of going to work or going to the bar with your friends is like adding to your bank account by taking from your pension. It’s not going to work in the long term. You must realise that being young right now doesn’t last, and you must physically prepare your body now to last you when you’re older. Sure, we don’t walk carefully into our grave with our bodies preserved and in perfect shape. However, there’s no need to slide sideways into the same grave at a young age, waving a bottle of vodka and a pizza. Aerobic fitness isn’t just about getting lean, either. It can make you focused and smart. It can increase your heart health. It can mean your immune system tackles illnesses easier, because you are in your prime fitness and you can heal better. There are plenty of reasons not to exercise, but none of them are good enough to stop. An extra hour of sleep might well be nice, but you won’t thank yourself for it later that same day.

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Genetics

Our history has a huge effect on our future health. Understanding that history is important, so you can make better and more informed decisions over your wellbeing. Learning about your family’s genetic background can directly influence how your future unfolds and you can contact your doctor, or a private company to screen you to learn more about your genetics. See how 23andme compares to those companies and help yourself to understand the best healthy lifestyle for you. There are tests out there to determine if we have a genetic marker for cancer, or for cardiomyopathy. Human genome mapping is pioneering in medicine to help doctors to understand how to create unique medicinal pathways that can cure diseases that are tailored to our own makeup.

These advances in science and medicine are lightyears ahead of what they used to be. The more we understand about individual diseases, the more we can do to avoid them. If our genetics say we are predisposed to heart disease due to the family history, then making choices to avoid developing heart disease would be the correct decision to make.


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Relationships

The relationships we have today can directly impact our futures, and not just with the people we are dating or marrying. Our families have a profound effect on how we behave, what we believe in and the way we choose to live. If your family treated you well in childhood, you’re likely to be far more balanced than a person who was a victim of abuse. You may choose to live better and healthier because you have confidence in yourself and your future. If you were unlucky, and had a childhood full of pain, you are far more likely to resort to vices such as drugs or alcohol to help you forget the pain you went through as a child. It’s not an easy thing to talk about, but seeking help from therapy as early as possible can help you beat addiction and move you into a more secure and healthy phase of your life.

Articles like this one tell us that stresses in our life can ‘chemically silence’ certain genes in eggs and sperm. This means that environmental factors like smoking and stressed childhoods can be passed down in future generations. Evaluating your current relationships to understand where your stress is coming from is important to move forward free from the chains of sadness and depression. If your marriage is making your body react in a physical way due to stress, then couple’s counselling or divorce may be the way to go. Stress manifests itself in different ways for different people, but it can have an impact on your future health. Strain on the heart and the mind can lead to heart attacks and gastrointestinal issues – none of which are easily helped!

Hopefully you can make good, healthy decisions about your future that don’t involve lasting damage. It’s understanding that your current lifestyle will map out how your future unfolds and how long you will live, and tackling any issues that are affecting your current day to day living. Above all, you need to understand that your health does matter. Your future and your life are the only ones that you get and if you don’t take care of yourself in the now, you’ll be fighting to take care of yourself in the future.

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The FDA has imposed a ban on 23andMe, a company offering personal genetic screening to the general public.

23andMe has been ordered to “immediately discontinue” selling its saliva-collection tests after failing to provide information to back its marketing claims.

The tests aim to show how personal genetic codes may affect future health.

The company said it would address concerns.

The start-up has been operating since 2006 and was co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

For $99, users receive a kit allowing them to take sample of saliva. This is sent to the company and in return users receive a readout of their genetic code.

The website promises reports on 254 health conditions and traits as well as offering to help people trace their genealogy.

23andMe has been ordered to "immediately discontinue" selling its saliva-collection tests after failing to provide information to back its marketing claims

23andMe has been ordered to “immediately discontinue” selling its saliva-collection tests after failing to provide information to back its marketing claims

Under FDA rules, the company must provide proof about how accurate its detection methods are as well as supplying the error rates from its personal genome service (PGS).

In a public letter, the FDA said that 23andMe had not supplied this information, despite increasing its marketing campaign and the scope of its tests.

“FDA is concerned about the public health consequences of inaccurate results from the PGS device – the main purpose of compliance with FDA’s regulatory requirements is to ensure that the tests work,” said Alberto Gutierrez, director of the FDA’s centre for devices and radiological health, in a letter to the company.

“Patients relying on such tests may begin to self-manage their treatment through dose changes or even abandon certain therapies depending on the outcome of the assessment,” he added.

Despite hundreds of emails and 14 face-to-face meetings with 23andme, little evidence had been provided, the agency added.

The company said: “We recognize that we have not met the FDA’s expectations regarding timeline and communication regarding our submission.

“Our relationship with the FDA is extremely important to us and we are committed to fully engaging with them to address their concerns.”

The Center for Genetics and Society said it welcomed the FDA’s stance.

“Our society regulates medical products to protect public health. Without strong public oversight, we’re back to the era of snake oil,” said executive director Marcy Darnovsky.

“The public agency charged with protecting public health has finally lost patience with a private company that seems to think it doesn’t have to play by the rules,” she added.

There are an increasing number of companies offering low-cost home genetic testing – but some medical experts have raised questions about the accuracy of the tests, and asked what benefit they offer to consumers.

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