Genetic Family History Assessment

Genetic Family History Assessment is a tool that helps health care professionals to determine those family members who might be at risk of developing genetic health issues. The findings of these assessments can be used for creating a range of lifestyle recommendations as well as offering some screening and reproductive options. This paper will study a genetic history of one specific family and offer some interventions for addressing indentified issues. The qualitative family history assessment can reduce the risks of repeating diseases through generations.

Family Assessment

Family Members and Health History

The family has only daughter. The 5-year old child lives with both partners. Additionally, she has two maternal grandparents and paternal grandfather as paternal grandmother died about two years ago. The child and her parents do not have any health problems now. However, her maternal grandmother has type 1 diabetes, so she has been taking insulin for many years. The woman is also overweight. The child’s paternal grandmother also had type 1 diabetes, which caused her death. It should be noted that the grandmother was also overweight. She also had numerous health complications caused by diabetes, including poor work of kidneys, heart disease, and deterioration of eyesight. However, both grandfathers have only heart problems.

Family Members’ Ethnic Background, Reproduction History, Growth, and Development Variations

The mother had only one pregnancy that led to the birth of a healthy baby. The child was delivered through the cesarean section. The mother could not breast-feed the infant due to absence of milk, so she used infant formulas. The woman has used contraceptives to prevent another pregnancy. Both grandmothers had three children. The paternal grandmother had three sons. The first two sons received breast-feeding every two hours, but the youngest son had to eat infant formulas. This grandmother did not use any contraceptives. At the same time, the maternal grandmother also had three pregnancies, delivering two daughters and one son. Each of the children had been breast-fed every two-three hours. 

The maternal grandparents have Polish background. When they were young, they moved to the United States. Furthermore, the paternal grandparents were originally from Russia, but they have lived in the USA for more than 30 years. Therefore, mother, father, and daughter were born in the USA too.

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Family members do not have any significant variations in growth and development. They have average weight and appropriate skeletal development. They were born with average weight. At the same time, they have not had any prominent achievements in their intellectual development. Both the mother and the father studied badly at school. Although the mother earned a Bachelor’s degree, she decided to work as a waitress because the woman could not apply received theoretical knowledge into practice. The father started to work after school because he did not have enough knowledge and skills to enter the university. Grandparents could not make a successful career either. However, the greatest variation is in psychosocial development. The paternal grandparents did not develop virtues of love and care. The main reason of this is alcohol addiction of the grandfather and the increased dominance of the grandmother. Therefore, their children were raised in the atmosphere of aggression. The maternal grandparents showed care and love to each other and their neighborhood.

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Family Understanding of Genetic Health Risks

Only some of the family members understand the causes of their health problems. The grandfathers explain their heart diseases by age, which is not completely right. Other possible reasons of their problems are alcohol consumption, an unhealthy diet, and an insufficient physical activity. One grandmother does not understand the causes of diabetes. As for another grandmother, the woman is already dead, so she cannot explain her understanding of the problem. However, her sons say that the mother was sure that she had inherited diabetes from her mother. The great-grandmother had also died of diabetes. Moreover, the great-grandmother also had one more daughter with diabetes. Although the mother and the father do not have diabetes, it does not mean they will not have it later. Both grandmothers had been diagnosed with their conditions when they were about 50 years old.

Identification of Genetic Health Risk Problems and Nursing Intervention Strategies for Genetic Risk Reduction

Both grandmothers have diabetes with complications, so the family members may have questions about the possible risks of this disease for their granddaughter. Family members do not take obesity and heart issues seriously, so they would not have questions about these medical conditions.

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The nurse should apply a range of intervention strategies. First, he/she should expand the patient’s knowledge about the disease and genetic risk of developing this disease (Kaakihen, Coehlo. Steele, Tabacco, & Hanson, 2015, p. 201). Family members also need psychosocial support from the nurse. As for the family from the current assessment, the nurse should first explain the major reasons of developing type 1 diabetes and the role of genetic factors. Thus, type 1 diabetes develops as the result of genetic disposition and environmental triggers (Wu, Ding, Gao, Tanaka, & Zhang, 2013, p. 667). Therefore, some family members do not inherit diabetes because some viral infections or other stressors must trigger this disease. For example, the possible triggers are German measles, Mumps, or Rotavirus. There is also a theory that children raised without breast-feeding have more risks to have type 1 diabetes (Alves, Figueiroa, Meneses, & Alves, 2012, p. 25). The child under consideration has been raised with the help of infant formulas, so it is an additional risk for her. The daughter also has two grandmothers with diabetes, so this increases her risk as well. However, there is no 100% guarantee that she will have the disease.

The next intervention strategy is explaining to the family the importance of checking blood glucose level after the appearance of first symptoms such as the increase of urination, thirst, appetite, and weight loss (“Diabetes”, 2016). The nurse should emphasize that ignoring screenings may lead to health complications. The earlier the child starts to receive treatment, the smaller number of health complications she will have in the future. In fact, both parents should be also encouraged to check their blood glucose level because grandmothers had been diagnosed with diabetes in their early 50s.

The family members also need recommendations about their lifestyle and nutrition. Although they cannot prevent type 1 diabetes, they still can avoid type 2 diabetes that often develops due to obesity and low physical activity (“Diabetes”, 2016). According to the family assessment, most family members are obese, which means that they have an unhealthy diet. The nurse should give them recommendations about changing their nutrition habits. Furthermore, all family members should be advised to increase their physical activity. The child needs a good example from her parents and grandparents. In addition, the nurse should recommend the grandfathers to stop alcohol consumption because they have hearts issues. Finally, the child needs to feel love and care from her parents and grandparents to have strength to deal with all environmental triggers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, genetic family history assessment has revealed that the youngest family member and her parents have genetic risks of type 1 diabetes. More to say, they are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes because most family members are obese and they have low physical activity. The nurse should explain the parents what causes diabetes of both types. The health care professional should also emphasize the importance of checking blood glucose level after the first symptoms of diabetes manifest themselves. The family also needs recommendation about their nutrition and lifestyles and relationships. Finally, the nurse should create supportive and friendly relationships with the family members because they need to trust the health care professional to accept and execute all her/his recommendations.

 

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