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What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing uses complex laboratory methods to examine an individual’s genes, which are the instructions that are found in almost all cells. Genes are responsible for traits that most people are familiar with such as eye colour and other appearance factors, but genes also play a much more significant and unseen role. An individual’s genes control many emotional components, determine how a person will respond to medications, and can indicate whether someone is more likely to develop certain illnesses. The aforementioned roles of genes are only a few of the thousands of functions an individual’s genetics are responsible for. Genetic testing is a tool with extremely broad utility that can be used to identify increased potential for certain health problems, identify the best treatments, or to help individuals improve their overall wellbeing.

What is the difference between genetic testing and the testing my doctor commonly orders?

Most blood tests you have had in the past relate to looking for a current state of a certain biomarker. Biomarkers can be anything from the amount of sugar and cholesterol in your blood, to cancer cells. For example, you may have had a test to determine if you had high cholesterol. If this level was too high, your doctor may have placed you on medication, or suggested you make dietary changes.

Genetic tests primarily focus on predispositions towards certain diseases, health conditions, or abilities. Returning to the cholesterol example, an individual may have a genetic component that predisposes them to have high cholesterol. This individual may eat perfectly, exercise, and maintain an appropriate weight, but still have undesirable cholesterol levels. The reason this individual may have high cholesterol levels is not their lifestyle, but their genetics.

The simplest way to view most genetic tests is as tools to identify what an individual is predisposed to. In many situations, genetic tests should be used with traditional blood tests for optimal health. The genetic test can serve as informational tool to determine what is likely to occur, and the blood test identifies what is currently happening.

Is my information private?

Genetic tests purchased through Qlu are completely private. The information that is found in the reports, is solely the possession of the purchaser. No information is ever sold, or shared with any other parties under any circumstances. In certain situations, you may elect to have your genetic findings used anonymously for research, but it is not a requirement and all tests can be ordered without any anonymous sharing of findings.

What will happen to the sample I supply for genetic testing?

Prior to processing, your sample will be stored in our secure, controlled access facilities and labelled only with a unique barcode. Once it enters the laboratory, data will be acquired from a secure computer network to associate the sample with any relevant information you provided. This step makes sure that the correct test is being performed, and that the sample is yours. Once the test is completed the remaining portion of your provided sample will be destroyed.

What is the importance of my DNA?

Every one of the seven billion plus humans on earth is unique. No two individuals are physically identical, have the exact same personalities, nor the same preferences. What is unique is every individual’s DNA. Even though 99.9% of the world’s population share the same genetic makeup, the 0.1% that is different between individuals is immensely significant. This one tenth of one percent determines a wide range of traits covering everything from how likely it is to develop a degenerative disease, to how strong an individual’s craving is for sweets.

Will my insurance cover the cost of the test?

In most scenarios, unfortunately the answer is no. Insurers in recent years have covered a greater number of genetic tests, but only in a limited fashion. However, it is still worth making an inquiry with your insurance provider. Insurance providers often will cover the cost of a consultation with a healthcare professional. You can use this consultation to discuss any findings from the test you are unclear, or concerned about. In certain situations, you may be able to use a health savings account to pay for Qlu’s tests.

What happens if I have trouble understanding my report?

As previously mentioned, genetics can be a complex science. This is why Qlu has created a number of services to help you get the most from your test. Most questions relating to the reported information can be answered by Qlu’s staff at no charge. You can make these inquiries the day you receive your report, or years later. We are here to support you. If your question is more complex, Qlu has a number of partner medical professionals who can assist you. The Qlu team consists of Physicians, Certified Genetic Counsellors, Registered Dietitians and other professionals who can help address your concerns both in person and remotely.

Is the science behind Qlu’s tests clinically sound?

Qlu does not offer tests that are scientifically questionable, nor clinically unusable. Every test is backed by hundreds, if not thousands of peer reviewed research articles from around the world, and processed in a government licensed facility. Any report can be shared with the appropriate medical specialist, and used as a tool to improve an individual’s health.

How can I use my results with my physician?

Most physicians are not trained in genetics and may only have a basic understanding of the process. To help you communicate better with your physician, Qlu has created fact sheets for each test that explain the science and clinical research behind each one. The fact sheets also provide contact information for the physician so that they may contact Qlu with any questions (they will need a dedicated email address for this). These are available on the site.

If you chose to work with any of Qlu’s providers through our telepresence program they are familiar with genetics as well as Qlu’s products.

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