I took the NavigenicsTM test around holiday time, during the hustle and bustle of the season. Providing the sample was so easy—it was just a small saliva sample. Then off it went to the lab, where my DNA would be analyzed. Soon I'd have a window into the future of my health.

About five weeks later, I received notification that my test results were ready. I remember the day vividly. Well, it was actually the evening. My husband and I were settling into bed, and I decided to go downstairs and check my email one last time for the night (I tend to be a bit of a workaholic, although I'm trying to get better at that.) And there it was in my inbox: "Your NavigenicsTM Annual Insight results are ready."  Now, there was no way I was going to let that email go unread, so I shouted up to my husband that I'd be in bed soon, and with slightly shaking hands, proceeded to open the email.  I'd done some research on the service beforehand, but not an extensive amount. So I honestly didn't know what to expect. What diseases had I been screened for? And more importantly, what was my estimated lifetime risk for each?

The thing that struck me right away, as I clicked into my results, was that all the diseases and conditions I'd been screened for had something in common: the risk of developing any of them could be lessened through healthy lifestyle changes. I really respect that in this service. They're not screening you for conditions that have no cure or no level of prevention. NavigenicsTM instills a real sense of control in you because you realize that you really do have the power to change your fate.

I briefly reviewed my results that night, and then proceeded to go to bed, feeling pretty good. Definitely curious and inquisitive about things I'd seen on my report, but all the more eager to speak on the phone to a genetic counselor (provided with the service) to better understand my results.

My genetic counselor was kind, patient, and so learned in her field—she really took the time to explain everything and answer all of my questions. We looked at each result, one by one. For example, we talked about the fact that the average lifetime risk of someone developing macular degeneration (the leading cause of severe vision loss in people 60 and older) is approximately 3 percent, but my estimated lifetime risk is 9 percent. There's different ways to look at this result. For example, a 9 percent risk of developing macular degeneration may not seem like much. But...it's also three times the risk of the average person. And that's definitely something worth paying attention to. My genetic counselor talked to me about the fact that, though my risk is increased, there are things I can be doing right now to decrease my risk. This includes eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods and wearing sunglasses that block out harmful UV light. Preventative measures for that condition and all the other conditions that NavigenicsTM screens for (type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and Crohn's disease, to name a few) are included on the site.

The site includes a detailed explanation of how one's estimated lifetime risk is calculated. It's so incredibly interesting and makes you really appreciate how far science has come over the years. Personally, I find the field of genes fascinating. The site also provides specific disease and condition information—there's so much to learn, and it's spelled out in a very readable, easy-to-understand way.

This experience has taught me that even though I can't change my genes, I can alter my diet, my exercise habits, and how often I get regular checkups at the doctor. I've got this one life, and this one body...and I'm going to do all I can to keep it healthy and strong for as long as I possibly can.  NavigenicsTM has provided me with crucial knowledge about my health... and now I have the power to rewrite the future.


If you're interested in learning more about DNA testing, click here for additional information.