Genetic Screening Could Help Prevent Non-Communicable Disease

Prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among Malaysians is always a serious issue, and genetic screening can provide strategic insights in mitigating health risk factors. 

Genetic screening is a process where a person’s DNA is analysed to identify genetic risks for diseases or disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, as well as to identify traits that may affect health, wellness and fitness. In addition, it can also screen for adverse reactions towards certain types of prescription drugs, and their effectiveness.

“Genetic screening for diseases can be a first defence in preventing NCDs. It provides a window of knowledge on the genetic risks of individuals,” said Chief Executive Officer of Malaysian Genomics, Sasha Nordin, at the workshop which was part of a 2-day ‘Advanced Nutrigenomics Intensive Course’, a collaboration between PERDIM and Malaysian Genomics.

“Through these tests, doctors can understand which genetic risks to focus on to actively prevent or delay NCDs from occurring. From the test results, a doctor could recommend more precise follow-up tests to monitor the individual’s health, and may also prescribe a personalised health management plan,” continued Sasha.

The tests are predictive, not diagnostic, unlike laboratory and imaging tests for finding specific evidence of disease. Genetic screening tests serve to screen for the potential risk of developing the disease in a person’s lifetime. A combination of both types of tests will provide a more comprehensive picture of a person’s health.

In instances where long-term prescription drug use is unavoidable, genetic screening for drug response can mitigate the risk of severe adverse drug reactions (ADRs), which could be fatal for some. “Through this test, doctors can approach long-term drug use with increased precision for better effectiveness and patient outcomes,” he continued.

“Personalised, preventive care begins with genetics. With actionable knowledge, doctors are empowered to deliver effective lifelong care to the families and communities they serve,” said Dr Wan Julia Sham bt Dato’ Ariffin, Vice President of PERDIM. “Some of this actionable knowledge includes using genetic screening to enable personalised and precise treatment of cellular repair mechanisms in the body, as well as nutrigenomics, which is the use of foods, supplements and lifestyle interventions to influence how genes express themselves.”

NCDs are the leading cause of premature death in Malaysia with heart disease and metabolic diseases like diabetes being the main causes. Many NCDs progress slowly over time and are caused by both genetic, lifestyle, and dietary factors.

Previous articleKPJ Healthcare Disposes Stake In Medical Distributor Teraju Farma
Next articleFood Security Should Precede Business Interests, says PeSAWAH


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here