Companies like Pathway Genomics provide DNA testing for individual consumers as well as for medical practitioners assisting patients. Customers can request testing for information that will help them modify their lifestyle in positive ways. For instance, although low-carbohydrate diets have become popular because many people find them so effective, but persons with certain genotypes are more likely to lose weight on a more balanced diet.
People may request information that helps them maintain optimum nutritional levels. For instance, some individuals are predisposed to magnesium deficiency because of a genetic issue. Low levels of magnesium can cause fatigue as well as muscle cramps and weakness. The problem is also a risk factor for high blood pressure. Someone with this genetic marker may want to consult a doctor about taking magnesium supplements.
The testing also can be useful for someone who has already been diagnosed with high blood pressure. A person with borderline high blood pressure with no genetic markers for the condition may feel more motivated to tackle the problem through a better diet, more exercise and weight loss. Someone who is predisposed to hypertension because of the genotype may become more accepting of the need to take medication to keep the numbers in a normal range.
A doctor who learns that a patient has genetic risk factors for high blood pressure probably will strongly encourage that person to make lifestyle changes in any case. Hypertension could be prevented in someone with the genetic markers by maintaining a proper weight, exercising regularly, keeping salt intake low and minimizing alcohol consumption. A similar situation can be true for someone predisposed to Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.
DNA testing also can indicate how quickly or effectively a person processes a certain substance, such as caffeine or medication. Results regarding medication can be particularly helpful and explain why someone has never been satisfied about taking specific pain relievers or other drugs.
Codeine is commonly prescribed as a pain reliever, for instance, but the genotypes of some patients do not metabolize it effectively. They continue to experience discomfort or they may be susceptible to the temptation to increase the dosage beyond what is recommended.