Fighting Lifestyle Diseases Through Understanding Africa's Gene Pool

By Czarina Ara Lasco

Nov 11, 2016 06:00 AM EST

Caused by an ageing population, a shift to an amplified urbanization, changes in lifestyle and an increase in the occurrence of obesity, a number of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and diseases are paving its way in the society.

For the record, non-communicable diseases have been one of the major causes of deaths in the world. In Africa, on the other hand, these are also the primary cause of premature deaths where people die between ages 40 to 70.

Based on the current data gathered from several researches, the health systems in the world find it really hard to take these diseases under control. However, it has been found out that the use of genomics is essential for a precise medical approach. Likewise, it brings us to the possibility of perception to which genetic drivers trigger an increased danger to a certain disease and how genetic variations in a population affect the reactions to treatments.

Precision public health is when scientists recognize which treatments have the biggest effect they can aim for a treatment accordingly.

In Africa, the said method could contribute in the alleviation of the continent's health burden. However, its implementation in other countries could be more difficult than it is in Africa. The reason for this is because the continents of the world have different challenges of their own. What is present in Africa could be different from others. Africa has this genomic variety which is more diverse than what other continents have. More so, the African continent has a large variety of different environments, cultures, lifestyle and levels of poverty.

It is, however, not to say that the method is impossible to other continents. The precision public health approach can be possible if it will be compelled at a population level that has large cohorts which could contribute to better understanding among scientists to how genetic reaction takes place in the presence of different environments and might as well interact with them. The method is also known as the gene-environment interactions. The use of this approach could open the doors into achieving greater opportunities towards the prevention and cure of non-communicable diseases around the world.

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