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What the Yuck: Relative genetics
September 2nd, 2011
07:40 AM ET

What the Yuck: Relative genetics

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

I look exactly like a relative who died young. Does that mean I'll die young too?

Relax, you're not going to die any time soon - at least not because of how you look.

You might share the same genes for appearance - the ones that gave you similar hair or eye color, facial features or height - but that doesn't mean you share the genes for whatever was responsible for the death of your relative: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

But how close is this relative? If she was really close (like an aunt or grandmother), it's a good idea to find out what she died from and be screened for it or its precursors.

In fact, you should do this for all your close relatives, regardless of whether or not you look like them. That way, even if you do have the same condition, you're ahead of the game and can get treatment or make the proper adjustments in your lifestyle (losing weight, exercising, etc.) to help you beat it.

After all, to be forewarned is to be forearmed!

Copyright Health Magazine 2011


soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Anon

    You is gonna die.

    September 2, 2011 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Wendy

    "What the Yuck" is old and annoying.

    September 2, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 2, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
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    do something with your medical degree and help people – remember your oath?
    stop polluting the internet with your meaningless dribble and go help someone

    September 2, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
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    In all of human history, this has got to be the most moronic question ever asked. This person will die of stupidity more than anything.

    September 5, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Miah

    I look exactly like my great grandma Clara and I mean exactly like her. She died from rheumatoid arthritis that she got when she was young. I'm hoping I never get it because it was super hard on her especially after she became bed-ridden. It runs in the family though so it's likely I will get it eventually.

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.