There is very little risk
of complications from having blood drawn from a vein.
- You may get a small bruise at the
puncture site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the
site for several minutes.
- In rare
cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This
problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress
can be used several times a day to treat this.
- Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is taken.
There are no risks linked with collecting DNA from
saliva, urine, or semen.
The information obtained from a
genetic test can affect your life and the lives of your family in many ways,
- Psychological effects. The emotions you
may experience if you learn that you are likely to develop a serious disease or
have an affected child can cause you to feel anxious or depressed. This
information may also affect your relationship with your partner or other family
Genetic counseling is recommended before you have
- Medical treatment choices.
If you test positive for a disease-specific gene change (mutation), you may decide to use
preventive or treatment options, if they are available, to reduce the impact or
severity of the disease. While many treatment options have been proved effective,
others may be potentially dangerous or of unproven
- Pregnancy decisions. Finding out that your
unborn child (fetus) is or may be affected by a genetic disease can impact the
decisions you make about the pregnancy. You may want to consider ending the
pregnancy. Or you may need to change your delivery plans. If you had planned on
giving birth at home, you may need to have your baby in a hospital. If your
child is likely to need special care after birth, you may need to deliver in a
hospital other than the one you first chose. You may also need to have special
health professionals present at the birth.
- Privacy issues. Many people worry that genetic
information released to insurance companies may affect future employment
options or the cost or availability of insurance. But a law in the United
States, called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA),
protects people who have DNA differences that may affect their health. GINA
prevents employers and health insurance companies from using DNA information
about people to affect decisions. This law does not cover life insurance,
disability insurance, or long-term care insurance.
A genetic test examines the
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) of a person's cells.
Genetic testing can identify changes in
genes or can analyze the number, arrangement, and
characteristics of the
The results of genetic
testing depend on the type of test done. Genetic testing is used to:
- Diagnose an inherited
- Provide information about how likely it is that you will
develop a disease in the future.
- Determine whether you are a
carrier of the disease.
- Provide information about the severity of
an inherited disease.
- Help choose appropriate treatment for some
diseases, such as
HIV infection or some types of cancer.