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Several common types of diseases and illnesses can be genetically passed along when you are born.
Genetic disorders occur when a person inherits a flawed piece of DNA. These diseases and illnesses get passed down from parent to child when there is a mutation within one or both copies of a gene.
Genetic disorders are among the most common types of inherited diseases and illnesses. These ailments vary from person to person and are dependent on your genetic background. Because of that, people of different races can be more susceptible to certain diseases and illnesses than others.
Here are 10 diseases and illnesses that can be hereditary.
Cystic fibrosis gets passed down if both parents are carriers.
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Cystic fibrosis happens when both parents each pass on a defective Cystic fibrosis gene. If a person only has one copy of the faulty gene, he or she is considered a carrier of cystic fibrosis. The disease progresses over time, bringing on severe lung infections and impacting a person’s ability to breathe, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
People with Jewish ancestry have a higher chance of getting Crohn’s disease.
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If you have Jewish ancestors, you are at an increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease, according to the National Human Genome Institute. This disease is known for causing your bowel tract to swell and become inflamed. It can cause blockages, sores, ulcers, and general discomfort in the stomach and anus. It is estimated that about 20% of people who have Crohn’s disease also have a blood relative with the illness.
One copy of the altered gene associated with Huntington’s disease is enough to cause the disorder.
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Huntington disease impacts the brain and causes sporadic movements, emotional issues, and a decrease in cognitive function. The fatal disease usually shows up during in your 30s or 40s but is inherited at birth. A person acquires the disease when a copy of the impacted gene is passed along by one parent, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
A child can get sickle cell anemia if both parents pass on the gene for the disease.
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Sickle cell disease eats away at your red blood cells and causes them to break down. In order for one to get sickle cell disease, a child must inherit sickle cell genes from both of their parents, according to Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. If a child gets one sickle cell gene and one “normal” gene from both parents, the child is considered a carrier of the disease.
Sickle cell disease affects millions of people across the globe. People from regions of the globe where malaria is (or used to be) common are more likely to have sickle cell disease. In the US, African-American people are more prone to sickle cell disease. The sickle cell trait is found in about 1 in every 13 African-American babies, and the disease occurs in 1 out of every 365 African-American babies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is more common in boys.
Duchess muscular dystrophy almost always occurs in boys. This syndrome can come from an altered gene on the X chromosome. Those who are affected experience muscle weakness starting in the lower part of their body, such as the legs. The National Human Genome Research Institute notes that the inherited disorder is present in 1 in every 3,500 male births around the world.
Hemophilia can prevent a person’s blood from clotting normally.
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When a person has hemophilia, their blood doesn’t clot normally, so they are more susceptible to bleeding for long periods of time. After surgery or an injury, and even in some less severe cases, someone with hemophilia will continuously bleed, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Both hemophilia A and B can be passed down from parent to child.
Thalassemia impacts hemoglobin production.
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Thalassemia causes anemia by impacting the amount of hemoglobin that a person is able to produce. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that brings oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. “Alpha” and “beta” are the two most common types of thalassemia, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute. If both parents pass on thalassemia genes to a child, that child will get the disease. You can be a carrier of thalassemia and never have any issues with the disease.
Tay-Sachs disease is more common in people of Irish, Jewish, and French-Canadian descent.
This rare genetic disease causes people to lose control over their muscles and diminishes fine motor skills. There are certain groups that are prone to getting the hereditary disease including people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine. People with French-Canadian and Irish backgrounds are also susceptible to Tay-Sachs Disease.
Factors including lifestyle, ethnicity, and age can contribute to heart disease risk. But genes play a role, too.
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We hear about heart disease often, but did you know many heart conditions are genetic? These include arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and high blood cholesterol. Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and age can also play a role in your chances of developing heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s important to understand the history of heart disease in your family so that you can take preventative measures to lessen your chances of hereditary heart disease.
Two rare forms of kidney disease can be passed down as well.
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Kidney disease is not typically regarded as hereditary, but there are two rare forms of the condition that can be passed down from parent to child. Polycystic kidney disease is when pouches of fluid form in your kidneys. It can happen to kids and adults alike. These pouches can also be found in other organs like your liver, pancreas, and spleen, according to The National Kidney Foundation. The second genetically inherited type of kidney disease is known as Fabry disease. The disease can cause kidney failure, though people with Fabry disease can experience a range of systems from manageable to severe.
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