Genetic counselors don’t work in a clinical vacuum. They collaborate with medical geneticists, laboratory technicians and families/patients. Following a complete family medical history, the bedrock of genetic testing is lab work done on a patient’s blood and the analysis of genetic markers. Best Medical Degrees has identified Most Affordable Genetic Counseling Programs which will give you additional information on the profession and genetic counseling programs.
What Is The Value Of Genetic Testing?
The advancement of genetic testing has opened the door for a myriad of medical information. Genetic counselors, in conjunction with a healthcare team, can order a variety of tests to discover and analyze important medical data.
One key aspect of genetic testing is the diagnosing of disease and precisely identify the disease to provide the physician with information to develop the most effective treatment plan. Specific gene tests can identify gene changes, determine disease severity, recognize gene abnormalities which can be passed along to children and screen newborns for treatable conditions.
Do Genetic Counselors Order Tests?
While it may depend on where you work, genetic counselors are trained to request specific laboratory tests and to analyze the results. Counselor will often confer with medical geneticists and explain and education patients on what the tests show.
Some of the tests genetic counselors may order include:
Prenatal Testing which is done during pregnancy to alert parents and medical professionals of certain diseases. Carrier Testing may also alert parents and physicians of disease or disorders that are likely to be passed on from the parents to a baby. This testing is typically recommended for patients with specific family history or ethnic background known to be susceptible for disease.
Diagnostic Testing that specify disease and aid the physician in developing an appropriate treatment plan.
Newborn Screening to identify at risk children for treatable conditions. For example, some newborns are born with an inability to absorb or metabolize milk (either breast or formula) and may fail to thrive. Once identified, nutritionists are able to provide alternatives for feeding to allow the infant proper nutritional values.
Predictive Testingallows patients with, for example, a family history of colon cancer, to determine their risk factor for developing the disease. Physicians and patients can then take a preemptive course of action to either follow the patient closely or adjust life style to stave off the disease.