Common Hereditary Diseases


During the pregnancy, parents can pass certain diseases to their offspring. These are called hereditary diseases within genetic disorders. There is a wide range of inherited diseases which can be categorized into these groups:

Autosomal dominant diseases

A baby has a 50 % chance of suffering from autosomal dominant disease when one of their parents has an abnormal gene with the same disorder and the other has a normal gene. For examples:

Achondroplasia is a bone growth disorder that causes an abnormal condition of short stature as an adult. At birth, an infant with this disease may have short arms and legs when compared to their body height, short fingers, large head or forehead. When growing into an adult, they only reach an average height of 4 feet at most.

Hereditary hemochromatosis
Hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron. The excessive iron is stored in the body’s tissues and organs, especially the skin, heart, liver, pancreas, and joints.

Down syndrome
Down syndrome causes the baby an intellectual disability, a characteristic facial appearance, and a delay in physical development. This genetic disorder is rare and may be detected before a child is born.

Hereditary spherocytosis
This condition can be characterized by abnormal red blood cells. People with hereditary spherocytosis may suffer from a shortage of red blood cells, yellowing of the eyes and skin, and an enlargement of the spleen.

Autosomal recessive diseases

These genetic disorders are passed to the fetus when both of the parents carry a defective gene. For instance:

Tay – Sachs disease
Tay-Sachs disease is a rare genetic disorder that progressively destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. A child with this condition may have several symptoms such as delayed growth, dementia, irritability, and even paralysis.

Polycystic kidney disease
This disease causes a number of cysts to form in the kidneys. This will reduce kidney function over time.

Usher syndrome
When a child is passed this disease, they suffer from hearing and vision loss.

Hereditary fructose intolerance
This disease causes the lack of the protein needed to break down fructose. So, children with this disease may experience severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and aversion to sweet foods.

Gender-linked diseases

Gender-linked disorders happen due to the abnormality in the X or Y chromosome. For instance:

Color blindness
This condition causes damage the eye nerves so patients can’t see colors in a normal way.

This disorder slows the blood clotting process.

Muscular dystrophy
It causes progressive weakness and loss of the muscle mass. Patients may lose the ability to walk or have difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

Polygenic disorders
Polygenic disorders are caused by multiple genes. They are not completely inherited but may be a risk factor for some diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and autoimmune disorders.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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