Spectrum Health Medical Group offers diagnosis and medical/surgical management of hereditary disorders. Our clinical geneticists and genetic counselors work with patients and families who need medical care for a wide range of genetic disorders, including birth defects, autism, metabolic disorders, cancer genetics, neurological conditions and more.
Our clinical geneticists complete several years of special training in medical genetics. Some are medical doctors (MD) and some have doctorate (PhD) degrees. By looking at a person's physical traits and studying lab test results, they often diagnose genetic conditions in individuals and families. They provide advice about health care based on the genetic diagnosis.
Genetic counselors are health care providers trained in both medical genetics and counseling methods. They practice with a team of other health care workers. These can include clinical geneticists, medical doctors, nurses, and others.
Genetic counselors study family and medical histories to determine the risk of genetic conditions in families. They help families understand the impact of birth defects and genetic disorders on their lives. Genetic counselors offer information and answer questions about genetic conditions. They can also help families find resources and provide support for dealing with a genetic diagnosis.
Who Might Benefit from Genetic Counseling?
Anyone who has questions about a disease or trait in his or her family should consider genetic counseling. A referral to Genetic Services may be especially helpful for individuals who have:
- A personal or family history of a genetic disease.
- A personal or family history of mental retardation.
- A personal or family history of birth defects.
- A strong personal or family history of cancer, especially cancers occurring in young people, or people with more than one type of cancer.
- A history of repeated miscarriages or babies that died.
- Concerns about future or current pregnancy due to lifestyle, medications or medical history.
- Concerns about current pregnancy based on ultrasound exams or blood tests.
- Concerns about current or future pregnancy due to maternal or paternal age.
What Happens During a Genetics Appointment?
At the appointment, a genetic counselor asks questions about family and medical history. The counselor or geneticist may arrange for other tests. This may help diagnose a condition and determine who in a family may be at risk. The genetic counselor also explains medical facts in a way that is easy to understand and takes time to answer any questions. Sometimes, follow-up appointments are needed. The geneticist may refer someone to other medical specialists or resources for a specific genetic condition.
For more information or to make an appointment, visit our list of genetic medicine specialists. For driving directions, view our map of locations.