Similar to inheriting traits like eye and hair color, you can also inherit the susceptibility to diseases from your family members. The genes that you directly inherit from your parents can also impact your health and potential for disease. However, they can be many causes of diseases and other health related issues. Your susceptibility to diseases stem from a combination of your personal life choices, your environment, and your genes.
Genes and Health Problems
Your genes can be directly related to potential health problems. The majority of genes that we inherit from our parents are copies from them which also function in the same way as their genes. However, genes are not always a perfect copy. Minor changes in genes are referred to as variants or single nucleotide polymorphisms and occur in everyone.
While some genetic variants may actually work better than the originals, many do not make any difference. However, some gene variations may lead to health problems. Single-gene disorders are rare diseases that are caused by mutations in one gene at a time. Most common diseases are typically caused by a combination of genes, your environment, and lifestyle choices.
Gene variants can be inherited from their parents. This is referred to as hereditary. However, mutations can also occur throughout a person’s lifetime. These mutations are called acquired.
Most acquired mutations are caused by environmental factors. For example exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Acquired mutations that are developed during a person’s lifetime occur in cells called somatic cells. These cells make up the majority of the body. While these cells and genes can cause health problems, like skin cancer, they can not be inherited by children.