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Genetic Counseling and Hypertension Risks

Counseling is one of the most important parts of the nursing practice. It has been acknowledged that patients benefit from effective training and counseling since they manage to develop healthy lifestyles and habits that are the most appropriate in their health conditions (Madlensky et al., 2017). For instance, patients learn about positive outcomes of genetic testing and are more willing to do it, as well as shape their health habits. Hypertension is one of the most widespread disorders in the USA, and the hereditary nature of this disease has been identified (Best, Austin, Chung, & Elliott, 2014). The case in question is associated with this common healthcare issue. This paper dwells upon the peculiarities of genetic counseling provided to people who are at risk of developing hypertension.

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The patient’s history suggests that he can be prone to the development of hypertension. His parents suffer from this disorder while his mother had an ischemic stroke at the age of 61. The patient has had flu and some seasonal respiratory infections. He does not reveal any signs of hypertension. Nevertheless, since both of his parents suffer from this disorder, he is at high risk of the development of hypertension later in his life since it can be hereditary (Best et al., 2014). Therefore, the patient can benefit from genetic counseling.

In the majority of cases, genetic counseling is positively viewed by patients. People tend to do the necessary tests and follow their genetic counselor’s recommendations. However, some people may also ignore or even feel somewhat frustrated when recommended to take some genetic tests (Cheng et al., 2017). According to Cheng et al. (2017), many people do not take health risks seriously, even if they are associated with such serious illness as cancer. In many cases, the reluctance to do genetic tests and follow recommendations of genetic counselors is associated with some cultural features as well as the socioeconomic status of the patient. Some people see genetic tests as a waste of their time and money. However, it is still possible to avoid patients’ negative reactions. One of the most effective ways to make patients more willing to collaborate in this area is to provide high-quality counseling. The provision of detailed information is central to achieving this goal. It is essential to concentrate on a number of areas.

The major focus should be on health outcomes and health risks. Patients should understand that they can be vulnerable to developing specific genetic disorders. In the case under analysis, the patient should understand that hypertension is hereditary, and he can develop symptoms of this disorder soon. Prevention is another important area to discuss with the patient. The genetic counselor should instruct the patient concerning the most effective preventive measures, including healthy lifestyle and eating habits, as well as regular screening. Taber et al. (2015) state that patients understand the value of tests and screening related to genetic counseling. Therefore, when speaking with the patient, it is necessary to focus on positive health outcomes associated with genetic testing.

Other crucial areas to address include diagnostics and prognostics. The patient should understand that genetic screening can helps estimate the most urgent health risks as well as ways illnesses can progress. For instance, it is possible to pay the patient’s attention to the fact that his mother had a stroke while his father had quite different symptoms. Genetic tests can help estimate the existing risks and develop the most effective treatment. The genetic counselor should discuss different types of treatment but concentrate on the strategies and methods that are most applicable to the particular case.

Finally, it is also crucial to consult patients as to the effectiveness of treatment as well as ways to monitor its efficiency. For example, the genetic counselor should stress the importance of checking the patient’s blood pressure. It is vital to monitor such symptoms as blushing and sweating. The patient should also pay attention to his sleeping patterns. The genetic counselor should always use real-life examples and encourage the patient to think about the symptoms he noticed in his parents. Research and quantitative data can be illustrative, but real-life and especially personal examples can be more motivating (Madlensky et al., 2017). Of course, the information provided to the patient should be a mixture of different types of evidence.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that genetic counseling is acquiring more popularity as well as becoming more accepted among patients. Although there can be some reasons for avoiding genetic tests or ignoring genetic counselors’ advice, patients start paying more attention to this area. When counseling, healthcare professionals should concentrate on such spheres as prevention, including proper lifestyle development and screening, treatment, and its effectiveness, diagnostics, and prognostics. It is also vital to use some real-life examples. Patients’ health histories can help in the delivery of these illustrations. Therefore, genetic counselors should employ various types of data to encourage patients to take genetic tests and follow the recommendations associated with their histories and health conditions.

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Best, D., Austin, E., Chung, W., & Elliott, C. (2014). Genetics of pulmonary hypertension. Current Opinion in Cardiology, 29(6), 520-527.

Cheng, J., Guerra, C., Pasick, R., Schillinger, D., Luce, J., & Joseph, G. (2017). Cancer genetic counseling communication with low-income Chinese immigrants. Journal of Community Genetics, 1-14.

Madlensky, L., Trepanier, A., Cragun, D., Lerner, B., Shannon, K., & Zierhut, H. (2017). A rapid systematic review of outcomes studies in genetic counseling. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 26(3), 361-378.

Taber, J., Aspinwall, L., Stump, T., Kohlmann, W., Champine, M., & Leachman, S. (2015). Genetic test reporting enhances understanding of risk information and acceptance of prevention recommendations compared to family history-based counseling alone. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38(5), 740-753.

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