What is Genetics? : What is genetic counseling?

What is genetic counseling?

A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional who works with families who are at risk of or have a genetic syndrome.

Since our genes can be passed on through the family, genetic syndromes and complex diseases don’t just have effects on the person that has the disease. Others in the family are often at risk or are affected by the disease as well. A genetic counselor will meet with a family that has a history of a disease and will take a very detailed family health history. This information can be used to determine if genetic testing can be offered to the family. The genetic counselor will discuss the benefits and limitations of genetic testing, the psychological impact of disease in the family and will offer information and support for families. The University of Miami provides genetic counseling services in the areas of pediatric genetics, cancer genetics and metabolic conditions. If you are interested in talking with a genetic counselor, please discuss your family health history with your family doctor or primary care doctor. The UM Genetics clinic can be reached at (305) 243-6006.

You also can find a genetic counselor near you at the website of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) at www.nsgc.org.

Read on: What is Complex Disease?