Do Women Inherit Their Mother's Health? from Breast Cancer to Obesity and Migraines, How Your Genes Can Count More Than Your Lifestyle from Breast Cancer to Obesity and Migraines, How Your Genes Can Count More Than Your Lifestyle
Byline: PETA BEE, Anna dunlop
RESEARCHERS recently discovered that the age at which a girl starts having periods is mainly influenced by when her mother started menstruating.
Scientists at the Institute of cancer Research at the University of London discovered there was a 57 per cent likelihood a girl would begin menstruating within three months of the date her mother started. It had been thought that diet, particularly eating a lot of meat, played a greater role than genes.
so what other aspects of a girl's health are controlled by genetics? could determining a woman's health prospects be as simple as checking her mother's medical records? We asked leading experts how likely you are to inherit your mother's body, mind and health.
GENETIC LINK: 70 to 80 per cent risk you'll inherit them from your mother, says Dr Kate Henry, associate professor of neurology at New York University.
WHAT*X27;S PASSED ON? Researchers recently discovered a flawed gene, called tresk, could cause migraines. If this gene doesn't work properly, environmental factors (such as noise, cheese and caffeine) can more easily trigger pain centres in the brain that cause migraines. When the defective gene in migraine patients was under-active it caused a severe headache.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? 'Triggers can be unpredictable, but identifying them will help to control your condition,' says Demelza Burn of Migraine action.
Many migraine sufferers are sensitive to foods such as chocolate, coffee, cheese, citrus and red wine. Hormones can also play a role -- the rise and fall of oestrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle can cause migraines.
Genetic link: 3 per cent of UK breast cancer cases are inherited.
WHAT*X27;S PASSED ON? 'Women who are carriers of the mutated gene BRca1 or BRca2 are more likely to inherit the condition,' says Jackie Harris, a clinical nurse specialist for Breast cancer care. 'If a blood relative -- male or female -- had breast cancer at an or female -- had breast cancer at an early age, you are more at risk.' Most women with these mutated genes will develop cancer at a very young age, says Dr elizabeth Rapley, a cancer geneticist from the Institute of cancer Research.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Genetic screening is offered to women with a family history of breast cancer (where one or more close blood relatives have had the disease). If you carry the gene, you can be closely monitored.
some women opt for earl y mastectomies to reduce their chances of developing cancer.
Hormone replacement therapies and t a k ing the c ombine d contraceptive pill can increase the risk in some women, as can being obese, particularly after the menopause, says Jackie Harris.
Women who drink and smoke excessively also face increased risks. according to cancer Research UK, smoking is responsible for more than a quarter of all cancer deaths in Britain, while even moderate drinking has been shown to raise the risk of breast cancer by 7 per cent for each single unit of alcohol per day, the charity reports.
GENETIC LINK: Up to 50 per cent.
WHAT*X27;S PASSED ON: 'The ease with which you develop muscle tone and improve fitness is highly inherited,' says Louise sutton, head of the carnegie centre for sports Performance at Leeds Metropolitan University. 'It's often said that if you want to win an Olympic medal, you should choose your parents well.' a study in the International Journal Of Obesity found that while we all need physical activity to build muscle, people with 'muscular genes' require far less exercise to achieve the same level of fitness. What can YoU Do? The Government's recommended 30 minutes of activity per day, five days a week, will help to keep you healthy, but won't improve fitness significantly.
'You need to do 30-45 minutes of moderate to high-intensity aerobic activity, such as running, swimming or cycling, preferably with bursts of speed, on at least three days a week,' sutton says. …