There are many ways that you can inherit genes from your mum – you may have her loud laugh, brown eyes, and dimples.
It is common knowledge that your mother has played a huge role in the way you’ve been brought up and in shaping your life. However, when it comes to your health, you can’t blame it on your mother’s genes.
Apparently, the chief responsibility for your health falls on you. There exist risk factors that are within your control, you can manage these factors and take ownership of your health.
If anyone in your immediate family has had a heart attack or suffered chest pain caused by blocked arteries, then the risk of you developing heart disease increases significantly. However, you can do these things to keep your heart healthy.
Stay fit– Being overweight can lead to conditions that increase the risk of strokes and heart diseases, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Maintain healthy blood pressure values and cholesterol levels – High cholesterol and blood pressure can destroy your blood vessels and your heart. You can manage them by following a healthy lifestyle and by taking medication prescribed by your doctor.
Get a regular health check up – You can’t know your risk of heart disease without knowing your cholesterol level and blood pressure levels. Regular health screenings identify dangerous conditions which need treatment.
Consume a healthy diet – A heart-healthy diet consists of limiting the intake of sodium, unsaturated fat, and sugar, while also eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
Quit smoking – According to Dr. Leslie Tay, who is a cardiologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, smoking regularly guarantees you a heart disease in your lifetime. Apparently, no amount of smoking is safe. The more you indulge in smoking, the greater you risk your life. However, fortunately, it’s never too late to quit smoking –the risk of heart problems slow down as soon as you leave it.
Exercise – As per Dr. Tay, being inactive is twice as worse as being obese. Getting involved in even a small amount of regular exercise can remarkably reduce your risk of premature death. It also lowers your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, regulates blood pressure controls your weight, reducing your risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
No matter how old you are, you should try to identify your risks and learn to manage them. This will reduce your risk of developing vascular and heart disease.
If you have inherited a smaller frame or your mother has had thinning bones, then you are more prone to get osteoporosis. However, you can take some steps at a younger age to prevent it from happening.
Taking sufficient vitamin D and calcium –Consuming calcium alone isn’t enough and vitamin D is needed in the body to absorb calcium.
Quit smoking – Human body isn’t able to absorb calcium properly if you smoke. As per studies, intake of tobacco leads to a decrease in the density of bones.
Do weight-building exercises –These exercises improve your bone health and increase your bone mass. You can choose from a variety of exercises like racquet sports, tennis, dancing and hiking.
Also, if some of your relatives have osteoporosis, then you should get bone check ups done at a younger age.
A person is up to 50% more prone to develop rheumatoid arthritis if their mother had it. In this condition, the immune system attacks the body, leading to inflammation of the cartilage and joint lining. It leads to a painful swelling resulting in joint deformity and bone erosion and joint deformity.
You can diminish your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, in the following ways:
Quit smoking – Smoking not only increases the risk of this disease but it also is associated with a greater severity of the disease.
Stay fit –Obese people have a higher danger of developing this disease, particularly females diagnosed with the disease before 56 years old. You can stay healthy by exercising regularly and by being conscious of your diet.
Avoid caffeine and red meat–People who eat large amounts of caffeine and red meat are more likely to suffer from this disease. However, high intake of vitamin C helps in fighting molecules which trigger rheumatoid inflammation.
Your risk of developing breast cancer gets doubled if your mother is diagnosed with it. If someone has inherited a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, their risk of developing breast cancer increases to between 40–85%, which is roughly 3–7 times greater than that of a female without the mutation.
You can follow these steps to control the risk factors:
Either drink moderately or avoid it entirely– For women, one drink a day is the limit. Drinking two or more drinks a day doubles the risk of breast cancer.
Plan kids early– Consider having a baby before you turn 30. Having the first baby before 30 reduces the risk of breast cancer. Other than that, prolonged breastfeeding for a period more than six months isn’t also good for health.
Stay fit–Maintain a fit body and healthy weight by having an active lifestyle and eating well.
Quit smoking– Higher you smoke, higher is the risk of having breast cancer.
Furthermore, it’s beneficial to appear for health screenings at an early age, if someone has a strong family history of breast cancer.
If your mother is troubled by a migraine, then your risk of suffering from migraines increases by 50%. However, you can make it go away by making some changes in your lifestyle.
You should eat foods such as citrus fruits, coffee, chocolates, cheeses, and alcohol. These are some of the common dietary triggers of migraines. Other than this, avoid places with strong smells or bright lights. Get ample rest, manage your stress and drink plenty of water each day.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases by about 30–50%, if your mother had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Also, there’s a 3–5% increased the risk of developing dementia. However, there are some things you can do to fight it.
Maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure –Conditions which increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure also increase the probability of developing Alzheimer’s.
Stay fit–Maintaining healthy weight will reduce your risk of heart diseases, type two diabetes and stroke. These conditions increase the risk of developing dementia.
Quit smoking– Increased amount of tobacco use increases the risk of developing dementia along with a host of other diseases.
Exercise regularly –Apart from reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, exercising benefits brain cells by increasing oxygen blood flow and oxygen flow in the brain.
Research suggests that heart-healthy eating may also have the possibility to protect the brain. Heart-healthy eating includes limiting the intake of saturated fats and sugars and increasing the intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
All of these combined can reduce your risk of developing dementia by approximately 20%.
Just because you are genetically inclined to certain conditions doesn’t mean that you are bound to produce them. A complex interplay of genetics is the cause for most of these conditions.
Some risk factors lie within your control, which you can manage to be healthy. While you may be disadvantaged from the genetic point of view, you can still take ownership of your life and take measure to lead a healthy and happy life.
The inspiration for this article has been taken from Health Plus Section, a source of credible health information by Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, Singapore.