Health

Health Concerns That Kids Can Get From Their Fathers


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Many of aspects of your physical health is genetic and everyone passes some of their traits down to their children. However, some studies show that fathers actually might pass down more genetic information than mothers do. Additionally, fathers are more likely to have mutated sperm because men continuously produce more sperm as they age. Therefore, if you are a father or if you are considering becoming a father, then you should be aware of which of your genes are more likely to impact your children.

Inflammation

little girl with red inflamed cheeksFathers can pass down a gene to their son that increases the risk of being unable to adequately control inflammation. In small amounts, inflammation can be a good thing because it means that your immune system is functioning properly. It occurs when white blood cells produce certain compounds that increase blood flow to an area in your body where you might have an infection, which is an important immune response. Unfortunately, it can cause nerve pain, fluid leakage, swelling, and joint irritation. Therefore, you only want your immune system to trigger an inflammatory response when you are trying to defend your body against foreign invaders.

You do not want inflammation to occur for no reason and you definitely do not want your immune system to start attacking your own body. If your immune system does start attacking when you are not trying to fight off any pathogens, then you can develop diseases that affect your heart, lungs, kidneys, bones, and more. Inflammation is also associated with certain cancers. Since chronic inflammation can be genetic, it is unsurprising that fathers have a high chance of passing down inflammatory diseases to their sons. For example, some studies show that if you pass on this inflammation gene, your son’s risk of developing coronary heart disease increases by about 50 percent.

Mental Developmental Health Disorders

Many mental and developmental health disorders can run in the family and older fathers are especially likely to pass down mental and developmental illnesses. Additionally, one type of mental illness can cause you or your children to be susceptible to a completely different type of mental illness. There is not a single gene that you can pass down to cause your children to have a mental or developmental health disorder. However, if you pass down the right collection of genes, your children can develop anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, schizophrenia, addictions, and more. Alcohol addiction, for example, is about 50 percent hereditary.

A series of genes can cause your body to metabolize alcohol in a way that might cause you to enjoy it more than you should. Other genes can make this enjoyment more prevalent than the nausea, overheating, mood changes, dizziness, or other adverse effects of alcohol. A wide variety of environmental factors can trigger or exacerbate these genes. For example, people who start drinking during adolescence have a higher chance of becoming alcoholics. Therefore, even if you are not an alcoholic, you can still pass down the genes that can cause alcoholism in your children. If you tend to enjoy alcohol or if alcohol does not make you particularly sick, then you might have many of the contributing genes that can put your kids at risk.

Dental Issues

father and son brushing their teeth togetherThe shape and size of you jaw and your teeth is genetic, which means if you have teeth or jaws issues, you can pass it down to your kids. Some genetic dental health concerns are easy to prevent as long as you brush your teeth, floss, take care of any cavities, and get any orthodontic treatment that you might need. However, other dental issues are less easy to prevent. For example, although researchers do not know the exact cause of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, many believe that TMJ disorders might be partly genetic.

Symptoms of TMJ disorders include pain and discomfort on the sides of your face underneath your ears, neck and shoulder pain, difficulty with opening your mouth too wide, locking sensations in your jaw, popping noises when you chew, a tired feeling in your face, discomfort when you bite, and swelling on the side of your face. Even if you do not have TMJ disorders, you might have similar disorders that can be genetic and can cause TMJ disorders in your children. For example, if you grind or clench your teeth or have certain problems with the health of your bones or joints, then there is a chance that you have some of the genes that can put your kids at risk for TMJ disorders.

Infertility

About 15 percent of infertile couples are having trouble with conception due to poor sperm quality. Studies have indicated that men who were conceived using in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injections (ICSI) were more likely to be infertile. Since IVF and ICSI are usually for couples struggling with some form of infertility, these studies seem to suggest that low sperm quality is hereditary. Scientist estimate that genetics are the cause for about half the cases of poor sperm quality.

Researchers have found that specific defects in your Y chromosome can cause your sperm not to function properly. Some men have certain fragments of the Y chromosome that are completely missing, which can also cause you to have lower sperm count. Other genetic abnormalities can cause you to have problems in your vas deferens, which can also lower semen quality. If you pass any of these genetic defects to your son, then he will probably be at risk for experiencing low sperm quality.

If you are concerned about passing down certain hereditary conditions to your children, then you should definitely speak to a healthcare provider. A genetic counselor can help you figure out how best to avoid causing your children to have certain health problems that you or other members of your family have experienced. Keep in mind that your partner’s genes can help to protect your children against certain genetic abnormalities. Additionally, many of your positive characteristics are also genetic, which means your children can also benefit from some of your genes.

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