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7 Medical Conditions That Women May Inherit From Their Mothers

7 Medical Conditions That Women May Inherit From Their Mothers

Your mother can give you a lot of things, but the one thing she can't control is genetics. Especially the ones that cause a predisposition for diseases.

There are a lot of things we, as women, get from our mothers. Sometimes, it's their personality; sometimes, it's their looks; sometimes, it's their ability to love unconditionally and stay strong through even the toughest of times. But there is one more thing we çan inherit from the women who birthed us—genetic diseases. Even if we don't notice any symptoms, it is good to be informed of the conditions to make informed decisions when required.

Here are seven medical conditions that women inherit from their mothers:

1. Heart Diseases

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Peter Dazely

According to a study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, it was found that one gene found only in women, along with their estrogen level, could increase their risk of heart disease. "This gene effect seen only in women, could be contributing to this difference, although we expect there are a lot of other factors at play," said the lead researcher, Freya Boardman-Pretty, as quoted by BBC. She did specify that more research needs to be conducted to understand the role this female-specific gene plays in such conditions.

2. Breast and Ovarian Cancers

The gene responsible for a woman's increased risk of heart disease, when mutated, affects her the same way when it comes to breast and ovarian cancer. Though men, too, are susceptible to this mutated gene and might get breast cancer, it is predominantly women who suffer this condition, according to Cancer.net. In fact, the website states that "the chance that a family has HBOC increases if one or more women [in the family] are diagnosed at age 45 or younger."

3. Alzheimer's

This disease is one of the most common forms of dementia and is more likely to affect women than men. The reason is that a version of the gene ApoE-4 usually found in women puts them at higher risk of contracting Alzheimer's. As per Alzheimers.net, it is speculated that this occurs due to how the gene reacts to the estrogen produced by women. However, “Researchers are now questioning whether the risk of Alzheimer’s could actually be higher for women at any given age due to biological or genetic variations or differences in life experiences.”

4. Insomnia

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Tetra Images

Your sleepless may have something to do with your mother, if she has been suffering from it, too. According to a study published in Nature Genetics, it was found that insomnia has a genetic link. Professor Danielle Posthuma, one of the lead researchers of the study, said: "Part of the genetic variants turned out to be different. This suggests that, for some part, different biological mechanisms may lead to insomnia in men and women. We also found a difference between men and women in terms of prevalence: in the sample we studied, including mainly people older than fifty years, 33% of the women reported to suffer from insomnia. For men this was 24%," as quoted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

5. Osteoporosis

This disease is characterized by increased bone weakness, which in turn raises the risk of broken bones.  Women, especially those who are post-menopausal, are affected by this, and genes inherited from mothers are a significant risk factor. According to a study published in Science Daily, it was found that osteoporosis is responsible for 1 in 2 fractures in women and 1 in 4 in men over the age of 50. If you have a genetic predisposition for it, the chances of you having it are higher. Being proactive with supplements and lifestyle choices is the best way to prevent or maintain the condition, as with other ailments.

6. Depression

A study published in NCBI stated that women are more prone to depression through genetics. A gene called Slc6a15 can be inherited and that this mental health condition affects women more than men. In fact, according to Mayo Clinic, women are almost twice as likely as their male counterparts to be diagnosed with depression. This can happen at any age. Moreover, women can also inherit their mother's predisposition to postpartum depression. 

7. Premature Aging

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Francesco Carta fotografo

If your mother is prone to premature aging, then you might follow the same route. According to a study published in Science Daily, it has to do with your mother's mitochondrial DNA. "The mitochondria contains their own DNA, which changes more than the DNA in the nucleus, and this has a significant impact on the aging process," said Nils-Göran Larsson, Ph.D., professor at the Karolinska Institutet and leader of the current study. "Many mutations in the mitochondria gradually disable the cell's energy production. Surprisingly, we also show that our mother's mitochondrial DNA seems to influence our own aging," said Larsson. "If we inherit mDNA with mutations from our mother, we age more quickly."

While it is good to be informed, it is also important to focus our energy on staying positive and making healthy lifestyle choices. Regular health checkups with your GP and special tests to rule out family ailments is the best way to be proactive. 

References:

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-34580962

https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/hereditary-breast-and-ovarian-cancer

https://www.alzheimers.net/8-12-15-why-is-alzheimers-more-likely-in-women

https://www.nature.com/articles/ng.3888

https://www.vu.nl/en/news-agenda/news/2017/apr-jun/insomnia-genes-found.aspx

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180726162724.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478054/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression/art-20047725

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130821132710.htm

Cover image source: Getty Images | Illustrations by Malte Mueller and Flavio Coelho (inset)

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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