The key is to stay aware of the possible symptoms and calmly watch out for any signs, so you can get them under control before it’s too late.
How often do the people around you tell you, ‘you’re just like your mom’? She may have handed down a number of her genetic qualities to you. But it’s not just your mother’s facial features, height, sensitivity or perseverance that you might inherit. Some of the factors that appeared in your mother’s medical history might appear in yours too.
However, this doesn’t mean that you will most certainly struggle with a condition like osteoporosis if your mother has it; it might only increase your risk by a certain margin. The key is to use the information and not be daunted by it. It can help you take measures to reduce your risk or be well prepared if something arises. Here’s all you need to know about the medical conditions that daughters most commonly inherit from their mothers:
This medical condition tends to affect more women than men to the extent that 80% of the people in America who have osteoporosis are women, according to womenshealth.gov. Osteoporosis can compromise on your bone density and make you more prone to fractures.
It might also have something to do with genetics because according to nih.gov, it has chances of running in the family because your genes affect your ‘bone mineral density’. Even if you may have inherited your mother’s body structure or the risk of osteoporosis, you can help counter this by making sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D, especially after you cross menopause.
If you remember around what age she got her wrinkles, it could also be roughly around the same age you get them. “Your mother’s ability to break down collagen and the age when it started breaking down—the age when she got wrinkles—are passed down to you, as well as the pattern of collagen breakdown: Did she get wrinkles around her eyes first, or deeper lines around her mouth?” said, dermatologist Purvisha Patel, MD, creator of Visha Skin Care according Readers Digest.
When it comes to your skin, a lot of the aging process depends on how you treat your skin and the external conditions. But your DNA can also have a role to play in the skin aging process. “Certain changes take place in the skin naturally due to the passage of time, but genetics also play a role in intrinsic aging,” said Jennifer Linder, M.D., Linder Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at University of California, San Francisco, according to dermatologytimes.com.
Thyroid is an autoimmune disease and being aware of the risks can help you notice the signs early and get yourself the right treatment. According to webmd.com, autoimmune diseases tend to run in the family, and they affect more women than men.
From weight gain and fatigue, to high cholesterol and even depression, the varied symptoms of hypothyroidism, which is more prevalent in women, can often be mistaken. Chung pointed out that you may feel worn-out, easily tired, depressed and you might even start gaining extra pounds. But these are not things that you might associate with a condition like thyroid so easily.
However, knowing the prevalence of this condition in your family had can be immensely helpful. “…if you know that your mother and your grandmother were hypothyroid, you can recognize these symptoms and be ‘miraculously cured’ with thyroid medication, rather than being miserable for months or years without knowing what’s wrong,” said Chung.
When it comes to conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, which is another autoimmune disease, the key is to stay aware of the possible symptoms and calmly watch out for any signs, so that you can get them under control before it’s too late.
The effects of arthritis is primarily seen on the joints. If your joints are often swollen or you feel a shooting pain radiating every time you move, perhaps even experience stiffness in the morning or due to lack of movement, it's best to seek medical advice that will shed some light on the possibility of arthritis.
Chung talked about how rheumatoid arthritis can destroy your joints, and once the damage is done, fixing them may be extremely difficult. Chung said, “If you get the inflammation under control at a very early stage, it can help to preserve the bone structure and function for as long as possible. If you know you’re at risk, you can watch for early signs and symptoms.”
The health of your parent’s heart might affect yours too. Although genetics might have a say in your risk of developing heart diseases, you can also lower your risk with a healthy lifestyle. One study published on nejm.org found that the risk of developing coronary artery disease dropped by 50 percent in the group that had high genetic risk, owing to a favorable lifestyle.
“This is significant research that explains the genetic underpinnings of heart disease and lets patients take actions to reduce their risk. In addition to changing your lifestyle, if you knew you were in the high-risk group, you might choose to take a statin medication earlier than you normally might,” said Bradley Patay, M.D., an internal medicine specialist at Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California, according to womenshealthmag.com.
It is quite common to see mental health ignored when talking about inherited medical conditions. But believing mental illnesses can't be inherited is a gross misconception.
“With mental illness, the more severe the disorder, the more likely it is that there is an underlying genetic basis for it. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, developed at a younger age, is much more likely to be inherited. There are specific single genes, for example, that can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing schizophrenia,” said Chung.
It’s not just your mother’s physical health but also mental health file that could be similar to yours. Especially with illnesses like depression. If your mother had depression, you might have the chances of developing it as well. However, it is also largely dependent on your environment and the people around you, especially in your younger years.
Researchers have found that certain genes may have something to do with your risk of having diabetes, based on a study's findings posted on sciencedaily.com. This is mainly because you might inherit your mother’s way of storing fat and this affects your chances of having diabetes.
When it comes to cholesterol, if you have the genetic disorder of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), you might have extremely high levels of LDL which is known as ‘bad cholesterol’, right from your infancy according to womenshealthmag.com. it could also mean that your risk of developing early heart diseases also increases by 20 times.
Having relatives in your family who have had breast cancer can increase your risk of having the condition. If your mother developed breast cancer, your chances might have a two-fold increase. Moreover, inheriting genetic mutations can also add to the risk. “…women who inherit certain genetic mutations, such as those on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, may have a lifetime risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer of anywhere from 50% to 85%. If you inherit that mutation from your mother, there is a very strong chance that you will go on to develop breast cancer, too,” said Chung.
The hormonal fluctuations that women go through could make them more prone to experiences migraines than men. If your family has a history of experiencing migraines, it is likely to affect your chances as well because it is often hereditary. According to headaches.org, your chances of experiencing migraines increase by 50 percent if only one of your parent suffers from them. In the case where both your parents experience them, your chances increase by 75 percent.
Another medical condition that is affected by your gene pool is Alzheimer’s. Both types of Alzheimer’s, which is early-onset and late-onset, have genetic factors that affect your risk, according to nia.nih.gov. This could be because of a genetic mutation or a permanent change in the genes that is being handed-own from one generation to another. If you inherit a gene like this, your risk of developing the disease also increases.
Issues with the eyes can also be passed on from your parent. If anyone in your family has had glaucoma, your chances also increase, but other factors also add to or lower the risk. “You are at higher risk for developing glaucoma and [another eye condition] macular degeneration if your mother had it,” said Todd Sontag, DO, a family medicine specialist with Orlando Health Physician Associates.