Learning From Your Genes

Anytime I am on social media, I’m amazed at the number of ads lately for DNA testing. There are so many companies to choose from and so many different features they cover. What can our DNA tell us? What do our genes have to do with our present and daily life? Why the interest in the past and our ancestors?

It turns out we are learning more and more about how genes and cell memory work. Recently, several studies have been published demonstrating how some of our mental and physical capacities are tied to our genes and cell memory. There has always been the age-old argument of nature vs. nurture, and scientists have looked at both. We are shaped in a substantial part due to our experiences and our culture, which is passed to us from our ancestors. Gene expression can result from both internal and environmental stressors throughout generations due to a chemical coating on the genes. We now know that via cell memory, these genes can be passed to a child yet-to-be-born.

With an ever increasing stress level on families, it’s understandable why genetics is vital to our health story. Cycles of trauma, abuse, addiction, depression and scarcity, among others, can be perpetuated without intervention. But there is  good news! We do have the power to break an unhealthy cycle. More and more resources are available to support individuals and families who cope with high levels of stress. Many people do not even know they are coping with high stress until they understand their Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE score. If you are looking for relief from cycles of ill health, please reach out to your primary care provider or insurance case coordinator for a referral. Building a toolbox full of coping mechanisms can help you and your family members both now and in the future.

If you need a primary care provider, please call Lovelace Care Concierge at 505.727.2727. If you are pregnant and have concerns about depression because of your family history, please call Labor of Love at 505.727.7677 or ask your provider. We are here for you. 

This blog submitted by Kristin Dawe, Community Health Worker and Childbirth Educator for Lovelace Labor of Love. Edited by Catherine Roth Certified Community Health Worker.