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Understanding genetic risk of illness and developing strategies to deal with them

genetic risk of illness and how to deal with them

Rashmi’s mother had had thyroid problems for as long as she could remember. As a result, both she and her brother had been warned by their family doctor that they might be likely to contract it too. The family ensured a strict balanced diet comprising adequate levels of protein, fibre and carbohydrate, and took other precautions too such as exercising regularly. However, as they got older, Rashmi’s brother too developed problems with thyroid which resulted in him gaining a huge amount of weight.

A genetic predisposition to a disease means that a person is more likely to contract a disease, owing to their genetic make-up. However, a genetic risk of illness is not a cause for a disease. This means that while a genetic risk to illness may make some people susceptible, it is not necessary that they will develop the illness. A genetic risk is the result of specific genetic variations that are often inherited from a parent. Even within the same family, some may contract the disease while others may not. Genetic risks can have low or high effects on the chances of someone contracting a serious disease. For instance, mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes can greatly increase a person’s chances of developing breast or ovarian cancer. Genetic predispositions can result in several diseases including cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease as well as mental disorders.

While it is essential for everybody to maintain healthy lifestyles, it is even more essential for persons with a genetic risk to diseases to be vigilant and careful with their health. Health insurance , which has emerged as the best way to protect oneself from serious illnesses, is only granted to individuals after seeking out their medical histories. In cases where individuals have a genetic risk of contracting certain serious diseases, insurers may ask for higher premiums for terminal illness cover since these individuals face a higher risk of contracting terminal illnesses. Insurance riders may also cost higher. However, the benefits of health insurance policy cannot be stressed enough since these policies can ensure minimal expenses for diagnosis, treatment, medical care and even hospitalisation. While the benefits of health insurance policy only become evident once the disease is already contracted, there are several strategies to deal with the genetic risk of contracting serious illnesses. Some of them have been listed below.


1. Ensure a nutritious diet:

A balanced, healthy diet comprises adequate nutrition levels that are essential for maintaining good health. A healthy diet can go along in reducing the risk of genes responsible for contracting a serious disease. Ensure your diet has enough of green, leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and dairy. Broccoli, garlic and onions provide nutrition and contain substances which activate tumour-suppressor genes and aid in fighting cancer.

2. Keep stress levels in check:

Today’s modern lifestyle has given rise to unprecedented levels of stress among individuals, which is further causing several lifestyle diseases. Stress levels can elevate the risk of cardiovascular disorders including heart attacks and strokes. For those with a genetic risk to serious illnesses, high stress levels are even more dangerous than they are for other individuals. It is important to keep stress levels in check and maintain good health.

3. Exercise regularly:

Regular exercise is essential for the body, since it helps stay fit and remain healthy. Even 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day can go a long way in protecting an individual and reducing their risk of contracting a serious disease owing to their genes.

4. Avoid smoking and other unhealthy habits:

Smoking poses serious risk for people with existing disorders and causes serious damage to health. For persons with a genetic predisposition to illnesses such as cancer, smoking can be an even greater risk since it severely reduces immunity levels and makes people more susceptible to diseases. Additionally, for smokers, critical illness cover becomes even more expensive since smokers are likelier to contract illnesses than non-smoking individuals. An insurance rider would also prove more expensive.


Individuals facing a genetic risk of contracting diseases should maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow the above strategies in order to lower their risks. In terms of insurance, the benefits of health insurance policy are substantially geared towards lowering the costs incurred in treatment, diagnosis and hospitalisation. However, a terminal illness cover is ideal for those facing a genetic risk of contracting serious diseases. The Future Generali Heart and Health Insurance Plan provides coverage against 59 critical illnesses, and cover from early stages and even offers premiums at a discount if purchased online. An insurance rider for coverage against accidents is also available with this plan.

Presenting the Future Generali Heart and Health Insurance Plan , a comprehensive health protection plan, that safeguards you and your family against financial risks arising out of any defined unforeseen medical emergency. The health insurance plan provides a fixed financial benefit that will help you cover medical costs, especially in case of critical illness which require a long term treatment, cost of second opinions, post treatment nursing and above all a loss of income during the affected period.

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