Genes and DNA are essential components of a person's brain development. Genetic disorders occur when there is a mutation or incorrect amount of genetic material present. These mutations can range from minor to severe, from a single gene to a serious chromosomal abnormality. If you have a family history of a genetic disorder, it is important to consider genetic counseling and genetic testing.
There are four main types of genetic disorders: inherited, acquired, chromosomal, and multifactorial. Inherited genetic disorders are passed down from parent to child and can be easily traced in families. Acquired genetic disorders are caused by changes or mutations in an existing gene or group of genes. Chromosomal abnormalities occur when there is an incorrect number or structure of chromosomes.
Lastly, multifactorial disorders are caused by more than one genetic change and are common in adult life, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, schizophrenia, and cleft lip. Although a person's genetic makeup cannot be changed, certain lifestyle and environmental modifications can reduce the risk of disease in individuals with a genetic predisposition. For instance, maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. If there is a family history, DNA testing for genetic disorders can be an important part of starting a family. If you or someone you know has a genetic disorder, it is important to seek care from an experienced specialist. Genetic counseling can help you understand your risk for developing certain diseases and provide guidance on how to reduce your risk.