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Will You Age Like Your Mother? Here Are 4 Ways to Avoid Genetic Health Risks


Want to know how healthy you’ll be in the future? You might want to start by checking out what your mom’s health report looks like. Since early intervention is the best method of prevention, listen up and get ready to take action if your mom:

1. Hit Menopause Early

You’re six times more likely to experience the same thing, which means entering menopause before you reach 45 — at least six years earlier than average. The big deal? Losing estrogen earlier than usual can bump up your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

Fight It: If you smoke, stop. Cigarette smoke damages DNA, which is one reason why smokers reach menopause two years earlier than non-smokers, on average. Additionally, eat plenty of low-fat dairy foods; US researchers linked them to delaying menopause.

2. Has Been Diagnosed With Glaucoma

It means you’re 10 times more likely than the average American to get it yourself. That’s because in most cases, glaucoma — which is the leading cause of blindness worldwide — is genetic. In 2014, six different genetic variants that bump up the glaucoma risk in families were identified.

Fight It: Eat plenty of carrots and consider getting a dog. While your risk of glaucoma falls by 64 percent if you eat two serves of carrots a week, dog owners are 20 percent less likely to develop glaucoma, thanks to the way the antigens that dogs carry affect our immune systems. And, if you do have a family history of glaucoma, regular eye exams are essential.

3. Had a Stroke Before 65

Your own risk of having one triples. All of us should pay attention to modifiable stroke risk factors, such as blood pressure, physical activity levels, and smoking. However, actively addressing these risk factors is especially important for people with this family history, whose genes increase their stroke risk further, say the researchers behind the finding.

Fight It: Exercise at least four times a week. Work out hard enough to break a sweat each time, and your risk of having a stroke is 20 percent lower than someone less active. It’s thanks to exercise’s beneficial effect on traditional stroke risk factors, like blood pressure and weight, say the South Australian researchers behind the discovery.

4. Has Diabetes

Your risk of developing it too, doubles. And it’s even higher if your mom was diagnosed before her 50th birthday. There are at least 40 different genetic markers that have been identified as playing a role in increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, but the good news is that the function of at least 50 percent of them can be modified by healthy lifestyle habits.

Fight It: Drink an extra cup of coffee a day, say US scientists. That’ll reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 11 percent. But, most importantly, watch your weight and be physically active, the researchers advise.

This article was originally written by Karen Fittall. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.

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