'Genetic factors also play important role in risk of diabetes & hypertension'
Genetic factors play a role in the risk for hypertension and diabetes with a slightly stronger evidence in Diabetes and Hypertension.
CHENNAI: After the recent statement from the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that 1.1 crore people in India, who are suffering from hypertension, diabetes are under treatment in India, experts say that the genetic factors also need to be kept in mind to ensure effective prevention and treatment.
"Genetic factors play a role in the risk for hypertension and diabetes with a slightly stronger evidence in Diabetes and Hypertension. However, the environmental factors also play a big role and in the case of Diabetes, the main factors are unhealthy diet, obesity, stress and lack of physical activities. With genetic factors coming into play, the risk increases, " says Dr V Mohan, chairman and chief diabetologist of Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre.
He added that high salt intake, lack of physical activity and stress adds to the risk of hypertension, besides genetic factors to some extent. Genetic testing has a higher role to play in monogenic types of Diabetes, which is rare in occurrence,
Commonly, primary hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus, that are polygenic in nature are witnessed in the local population. The major contributions of risk factors are from lifestyle habits and diet. With genetic tests, it can be assessed if the person is at high genetic risk of getting hypertension or diabetes.
Dr Ramesh Menon, Associate Director of Genomic Medicine - Personal Genomics Divisions of Bioinformatics Department at MedGenome Labs says that the polygenic risk score tests will assess if the tested individual is at the average, moderate or high genetic risk of getting hypertension or diabetes.
"A person who has the average genetic risk has the same risk as the general population. Moderate risk is an elevated risk of getting the disease compared to the general population. People who have a high genetic risk need absolute changes in lifestyle, diet and indulge in activities that counteract the risk of getting the disease."
Doctors say that with the advancement in genetic research, one can now assess the genetic risk of getting these diseases much in advance through a simple non-invasive test.
Apart from blood sample collection, now the DNA of an individual can be extracted from saliva or buccal swab and assess one's genetic risk.
"We routinely come across several cases where individuals at a young age have the high risk for diseases and we provide necessary directions to follow, to avoid any unpleasant surprises in one's life," adds Dr Ramesh.