In recent years the FDA, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have approved a options for seniors to help prevent illness and disease.

Some of the new approved methods to prevent illness are as simple as a proper diet and exercise. But some of these new methods can be highly technology focused and might even feel overwhelming to understand for some seniors.

On this page we will take a few moments to unpack one specific preventative treatment known as genetic testing. This preventative treatment was officially approved by the federal government almost 20 years ago in 2006.

Genetic Testing That Helps Identify Serious Illness

While there are genetic tests that help you identify your ancestry or allergies, we are referring to a different kind. The type of DNA test we are referring to helps identify serious illnesses that a person may be genetically predispositioned to.
Using genetic tests to identify potential genetically hereditary diseases in your DNA may sound like science fiction, but this type of testing is approved by the FDA in the United States

Some Benefits of Genetic Testing for Seniors

The benefits related to these types of tests aren’t just for you, but they are also for your family.

  1. You are able to identify potential health risks in your DNA before they become illness in your body, so you can take preventative measures.
  2. This is valuable information for your family members, especially your children and grandchildren so they can also take preventative measures.

You can have the peace of mind that some illnesses might not be present in your DNA so you have a much lower risk of encountering them. (This type of peace of mind is priceless.)

What Are the Costs of Genetic Tests?

These genetic tests can range anywhere in cost from $250 per test to over $2,000 per test depending on the type of illness it is attempting to identify.

For seniors who have both Medicare Plan A and B they can qualify for a 100% subsidy so that these plans are fully covered without out-of-pocket expenses.

Because these different tests are focused on identifying unique illnesses by examining DNA, many of these tests utilize a unique method to identify what they are investigating. For example with molecular tests there are four different types of tests, which are used in different scenarios by medical care providers. 

Each one of these tests will have different costs, because each utilizes a unique process by which to identify genetic predisposition in DNA. There are four types of molecular tests which vary in scope as mentioned above including targeted single variant, single gene, gene panel and whole exome sequencing.

Beyond these four molecular tests there are three additional tests which each have unique benefits as well including chromosomal tests, gene expression tests and biochemical tests. 

For example, gene expression tests are commonly used for identifying different types of cancer. One other example is how the molecular test known as targeted single variant test is used for sickle cell disease. 

Other Factors Related to Genetic Testing

You might be asking yourself one of these questions…

‘Are there short or long term side effects?’
‘How long will this take?’
‘Is it painful?’

Regarding side effects, there are no side effects from a DNA genetic test.

While many tests can deliver results within three weeks, some tests can take up to 9 weeks to deliver a result. This will be dependent on the specific type of test you have taken.

In most cases a genetic test is a swab test from the inside of your mouth and will not be painful in any way. There are specific situations where a genetic test may require a blood sample. In these situations these blood samples are minimal and will be low pain. In one other scenario which is quite rare, a genetic test may be performed on a tumor. But this type of testing is not for preventive care, but instead it is to identify treatment options after cancer has already been identified in the body. 

Genetic testing is now considered one of the most effective treatment options for seniors because it’s easy and painless to maintain a good quality of life. This type of testing helps identify and prevent potential disease before it ever becomes an issue.

From the FTC Fact Sheet on Genetic Testing

https://osp.od.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DTC_Consumer_Alert_Jul06.pdf

Validity of Genetic Tests According To The FDA And CDC

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the manufacturers of genetic tests; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which promotes health and quality of life, some of these tests lack scientific validity, and others provide medical results that are meaningful only in the context of a full medical evaluation.

Claims Of Genetic Tests

Having a particular gene doesn’t necessarily mean that a disease will develop; not having a particular gene doesn’t necessarily mean that the disease will not.

To learn more about genetic tests you can visit these links

The History of DNA Testing
Why Seniors Benefit the Most From Genetic Testing

Can Medicare 100% Subsidize Genetic Testing?

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