Gene inheritance explains the risks for family members in developing genetic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and asthma among others (Genetic Alliance, 2008). The subject of family genetic risks is critical in analyzing the issue of gene inheritance and genetic diseases in a real-life scenario. The purpose of this essay is to analyze family genetic risks for members of a selected family from three generations. Based on the family members' health history, the paper will explain the emanating family genetic risks, their understanding of these risks, identify the genetic health risk problems and nursing intervention strategies for genetic risk reduction. First, it is essential to describe the history of the family members and their health.
Family Members and Health History
The family members for this analysis are from three generations including the grandmother, mother, and daughter. Marion is the grandmother aged 71 years old. She has cervical cancer that has been treated for the last two years. Marion is also under the treatment of high blood pressure that she developed at the age of 50 years. Monica is the mother at the age of 41 years, and she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 2. She was diagnosed with high blood pressure during her pregnancies. Nancy is Monica's daughter age 22 years and was diagnosed with hypertension during her first pregnancy.
Family Members' Ethnic Background, Reproductive History, Growth and Development Variations
According to Marion, the family comes from the Hispanic ethnic background that values family ties and speak the Spanish language. However, Monica speaks both English and Spanish languages. Nancy rarely speaks the Spanish language. Instead, she embraces the English language more.
Based on the reproductive history, the onset of Marion menstruation was at the age of 14 years. Cramps were a significant issue for Marion during her menstruation time. Her first pregnancy was at the age of 18 years, and the last was at the age of 38 years. Her menopause started at the age of 43 years. Marion has six children, five girls, and one boy. Monica menstruation begun at the age of 13 years. She is still on her menstrual period experiencing heavy flow accompanied by moderate cramps. Her first pregnancy was at the age of 20 years and the last at the age of 35 years. Monica has four children. She has not yet attained the age of menopause. Nancy experiences an irregular menstrual period and has one child. She gets severe cramps that became moderate after giving birth to her first child. Her first pregnancy was at the age of 20. Nancy also bleeds between periods.
Regarding family variations in growth and development, Marion is 5.4ft tall; Monica is 6ft tall while Nancy is 5.8ft tall. Marion weights 65kgs, Monica is 59kgs and Nancy is 60kgs. Marion reached her puberty at the age of 13 years, Monica at 15 and Nancy 14 years respectively. The three women have small variations in growth and development. It can be attributed to the genetic factors of females whose height is 6ft tall and below in America. The differences are also attributable to the dimorphic tendencies in every human person and hormonal differences generated during puberty and adolescence (Dahl & Forbes, 2010).
Family Understanding of Genetic Health Risks
The family partially understands the causes of their health problems. Marion does not understand genetic factors and how they relate to particular illnesses that occur to more than one family member. That is why she only says that her illnesses cancer and hypertension are caused by her age. Monica relates her breast cancer to her mother's disease, cervical cancer. However, she does not understand why she has breast cancer instead of cervical cancer. Even though Monica is not suffering from high blood pressure, she realizes that her hypertension during pregnancy may be caused by genetic risks from her mother who currently has hypertension.
Nancy also relates her hypertension during pregnancy to that of her mother. She states that hypertension is an illness that runs in the family from her grandmother. Nancy is also worried about the possibility of developing cancer in her later years as both her mother and grandmother are already having cancer. It shows that at older, Marion has little knowledge when compared to the second and third generations. She asks how genes can contribute to the family members developing these illnesses. Monica asks why she should have breast cancer instead of cervical cancer like her mum id cancer runs in the family. Nancy's question is whether it is a must to get cancer because her family members seem to have the sickness.
Identification of Genetic Health Risk problems and Nursing Intervention Strategies for Genetic Risk Reduction
From the description, it is clear that there are two major genetic health risk problems for the family including cancer and hypertension. The grandmother is already suffering the two illnesses while the mother has one and periodically experiencing another. The grandchild, Nancy has one illness, hypertension that was diagnosed during pregnancy.
The nursing intervention strategies for genetic risk reduction include genetic testing and preventive measures including mastectomy, chemotherapy, and oophorectomy (Choi & Kim, 2014). Based on the obtained assessment, the family health nurse should undertake a genetic test for cancer and hypertension for the three members of the family from different generations. It will help in establishing the possibility of similar genetic factors in all of the three women. In reducing genetic health risks, the family health nurse should advice Nancy on ways of preventing the development of cancer like her mother and grandmother. It is also critical to educate Nancy about the options available for a good diet and exercise to avoid the severity of hypertension at a later age.
The intervention strategies imply that nurses should be aware of the importance of genetic counseling when family members experience similar illnesses at different generations (Turchetti & Skirton, 2013). It is an important practice to use the required diagnostic tools to establish the genetic health risks in the family. The nurse should educate the family members of the genetic risk levels for developing these particular illnesses. Information about the benefits and limitation of the different options to predict and prevent the diseases should be provided as uncertainty may hinder the perception of the information to the family members (Hutton, Belkora, Shachter, & Moore, 2009). Genetic counseling requires effective communication as one of the primary element in the successful delivery of the information by nurses (Feetham & Thomson, 2006).
In conclusion, the history of a family is vital in understanding the genetic health risks for members in different generations. From the assessment of the chosen family, it is evident that the reproductive and health history are significant factors to consider when evaluating genetic health risks for family members. The assessment reveals that the development of genetic diseases may start at different ages for different members of the family depending on their reproductive characteristics. Also, genetic disorders may occur differently and not necessarily the same way as an older member of the family. Later generations should learn and understand genetic factors contributing to genetic health risks in developing particular diseases. It is essential for the family nurse to provide genetic health risk information to patients identified and the ways to prevent.
Choi, J. & Kim, H. (2014). Effectiveness of the Interventions Utilized in Genetic Counseling. Advances in Nursing, 1-19.
Dahl, R. E., & Forbes, E. E. (2010). Pubertal Development and Behavior: Hormonal Activation of Social and Motivational Tendencies. Brain and Cognition, 72(1), 66-72.
Genetic Alliance. (2009). Family history is important for your health. Understanding Genetics: A New York, Mid-Atlantic Guide for Patients and Health Professionals. The New York-Mid-Atlantic Consortium for Genetic and Newborn Screening Services.
Godino, L., Turchetti, D., & Skirton, H. (2013). Genetic counseling: a survey to explore knowledge and attitudes of Italian nurses and midwives," Nursing and Health Sciences, 15(1), 15-21.
Feetham, S., & Thomson, E. (2006). Keeping the individual and family in focus, in Individuals, Families and the New Era of Genetics, Biopsychosocial Aspect, McDaniel, S., Miller, S., & Rolland, J., Eds., 3-28. W.W. Norton.
Hutton, D., Belkora, J., Shachter, R., & Moore, D. (2009). Are patients getting the gist in risk communication? Patient understanding of prognosis in breast cancer treatment. Journal of Cancer Education, 24(3), 194-199.
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