Some families have a certain disease or medical condition that transfers from one gender to another same gender. It is like a family tree.
Gender-linked conditions and diseases are those that are carried by the X and Y chromosomes, the part of your genome that determines whether you're a male or a female.
Males receive an X chromosome from their mother and a Y chromosome from their father. Females receive an X chromosome from each parent.
X chromosome is much larger than the Y chromosome and, in addition to its role in gender determination, it carries 1,098 genes responsible for many different characteristics. The smaller Y chromosome only carries 26 genes.
Some genetic diseases and medical conditions passed to sons/males from their fathers, grandfathers, greatgrandfathers are:
1. Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is a disease that affects men and has a genetic component.
A large number of men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually. Of these cases, up to 20% are genetic.
There is still a great deal of research underway to identify the genes responsible for this type of cancer and the inheritance pattern that accompanies it.
Prostate cancer can vary in severity, and depending on the type and stage, it is treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, or watchful waiting. In many cases, prostate cancer is treatable.
2. Male pattern baldness: Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a condition that affects both men and women; however, it's far more common in men.
Multiple genes cause androgenetic alopecia, but at least two of them are located on the X chromosome. In females, the second X chromosome offers some protection against baldness, which is why women are less likely to have this condition.
There are a number of treatments to reduce the symptoms of male pattern baldness.
3. Hemophilia: Hemophilia is a blood clotting disorder that is carried on the X chromosome. Women can be carriers of the gene for hemophilia, but their second X chromosome offers protection against the disease.
Hemophilia has different levels of severity, ranging from moderate bleeding problems to bleeding that is more difficult to control and is accompanied by joint issues, and sometimes, heart defects.
4. Alport Syndrome: Alport Syndrome causes vision & hearing problems and kidney disease.
This disease affects both men and women, but because it is carried on the X chromosome, it has a much more serious effect on males.
Males frequently experience progressive kidney problems and eventual kidney failure.
Females' second X chromosome typically serves to mitigate the negative aspects of this disease. There is no cure for Alport Syndrome, but kidney dialysis and transplant can extend life.
Certain diseases may be listed on family records. Other conditions, like male-pattern baldness, may be evident in old family photographs.
It's important to record as much information as you can about the role of these gender-specific genetic diseases in your family tree.
Future generations may even use your information to make medical decisions.
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