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Apo E Gene Testing and You

Aug 13, 2008
A large percentage of heart disease is known to be genetic. So, as experience with patients has also shown me, even more important than looking beyond total cholesterol levels is testing for the number one gene that affects cholesterol and heart disease -- Apo E.

Most people are still not sure how they feel about genetic testing or what to do with genetic testing results if they have been tested. Because it is such a new technology, most people have never discussed a genetic test with a medical provider, let alone had one performed. Yet if you have had a baby born into your family in the past few years, chances are the baby has had a genetic test for phenylketonuria (PKU). The routine genetic testing of newborns can identify genetic disorders that must be treated early in life and is the most widespread use of genetic testing. All 50 states have passed laws requiring that newborns be tested for PKU because if it is not identified and treated very early with dietary restrictions, it causes mental retardation.

While the medical industry is in its infancy with respect to genetic testing and handling the results of that testing, we know enough to say that proper genetic testing can provide you with some important information that can help you determine how to best protect or improve your health. This does not mean that everyone should be gene tested. Gene testing has some involved, complicated medical and ethical issues associated with it. I won't get into the debate about genetic testing from a philosophical standpoint, but rather, share with you certain conditions under which you may -- or may not -- want to consider genetic testing. Your decision about whether or not to take the Apo E genotype test should be made with the help of a practitioner, ideally the one who will then order the test for you if you decide in favor. I will offer guidelines below to help you and your practitioner in making the right decision for you.

Drawbacks of Testing

The decision to get tested for the Apo E gene is not easy, and one of the main reasons is because your health insurance company and your employer could find out that you have an above average risk of developing Alzheimer disease or cardiovascular disease. Besides their knowing, you might rather not know that unless you make major changes to how you live your life, you have a 90 percent chance of developing Alzheimer disease. If you are considering the test because your family has a history of Alzheimer disease, or you have very high cholesterol, you should talk with a medical provider who has experience performing these tests and can help keep your test results confidential.

The Apo E test, along with an advanced cholesterol test, can give you clear nutritional direction and guidance. The question then becomes whether you need an Apo E test, or just advanced cholesterol testing. Personally, I think it depends on what you want, need, and are willing to do. I do not recommend that testing be done just to find your risk of contracting Alzheimer disease. Rather, the decision to be tested should be based on your desire to obtain the information necessary for proper nutritional guidance and assistance in preventing chronic illness.

Reasons for Doing Genetic Testing

Indications and warning signs that may be a reason for genetic testing are a personal history of:

* severe cardiovascular disease
* Alzheimer disease
* Parkinson disease
* severe neurological disease
* gout
* alcoholism
* high triglycerides and/or LDL
* insulin resistance or diabetes
* substance abuse
* morbid obesity
* depression/anxiety disorder or other mood disorders
* confirmation of a high cholesterol disorder potentially being affected by the Apo E gene
* confirmation of a diagnosis of late onset Alzheimer disease in a symptomatic adult or to reduce risk with dietary prescription
* assistance with treatment of multiple sclerosis by dietary prescription
* assistance with treatment of Parkinson disease by dietary prescription

At the same time, if you have one of the following chronic illnesses or conditions and you are not getting better with your current care plan, you may want to consider getting an Apo E test to help improve your dietary patterns. Here are just a few conditions that I have seen find exceptional success with dietary change related to an Apo E genotype:

* acne
* arthritis
* gout
* diabetes
* depression
* alcoholism
* chronic pain
* ADD and ADHD
* high cholesterol
* cardiovascular disease
* hypertension
* Parkinson disease
* multiple sclerosis
* severe peri-menopausal symptoms
* anxiety
* chronic obesity
* fibromyalgia
* insulin resistance
* insomnia
* menopausal symptoms
* glucose intolerance

I strongly recommend that you find a medical provider who has been trained in the advancing field of genetic heart disease and in integrative nutritional medicine to support you.
About the Author
Pamela McDonald is a leading Integrative Medicine Nurse Practitioner, who specializes in the prevention of heart and Alzheimer's disease, and chronic illness. To learn more about her groundbreaking book, and program - visit APO E Gene Diet. To subscribe to her free APO E Gene Diet Health Notes - send a blank email to Info@ApoeGenediet.com.
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