Genetics specialists in San Francisco help patients who have genetic disorders or are at risk for developing them. They will determine what treatment plan is appropriate and discuss possible outcomes. This article will briefly review the populations that may want to seek such advice.
Doctors that specialize in genetics (clinical geneticists) will obtain a family history and decide what tests need to be done. These tests require only a small amount of body tissue or blood in order to determine if there are any genes present that point toward a specific inherited disorder. The appropriate treatment plan will be developed and discussed with the patient(s) as well as the possible long-term outcomes if a disorder is diagnosed.
Issues and concerns that may lead to a referral can be based on a family history. This can include any members of the family who have mental retardation or an inherited birth defect, a family member who died early or had a problem that could not be diagnosed and history of early onset dementia, cancer, or cardiovascular disease. Some ethic groups are more prone to inheriting illnesses and may wish to be tested.
Children with an inherited disorder, birth defect, or who are developmentally delayed may see a genetics specialist.
Women who get pregnant after the age of 35, or have not been able to carry several pregnancies to term should also seek tests. Sometimes people who have jobs where they are exposed to radiation or chemicals, will want to be tested. A medical history of infections and medications, or the use of illegal drugs can also prompt a referral.
Couples that are close blood relatives or first cousins may seek counseling. Parents who have had a blood test or ultrasound that indicates a possible risk for a birth defect, are also candidates.
When a referral is made, the specialist will consult with the patient and perform a thorough assessment to determine if there is a genetic disease. This is done with a clinical exam, testing, and reviewing the family history. Options are then provided to the patient, as well as to their primary care physician.
Genetic councilors, while not doctors, can assist the patient and their family of treatment options available to them, and help adjust to the diagnoses.
Genetics specialists in San Francisco will work with families in a compassionate and honest manner so that informed decisions can be made. Speak with a primary care physician to see if a referral is needed.