Genetic disorders are diseases that are inherited. In some cases, the disorder can occur through a mutation, but this is extremely rare. Despite what comic books have depicted, such mutations are extremely common and do not result in super powers. Those mutations that do have an effect are usually harmful. In rare cases, beneficial mutations occur. Genetic disorders often occur because of the second type. A discussion of evolutionary genetics, however interesting, is not helpful for a person to learn about genetic disorders. What follows are a list of 5 simple ways a person can learn about genetics disorders.
1. Use the Internet
The Internet is the modern version of the library. Many types of information can be found on the network of networks. Finding accurate information takes practice and experience. Because anyone can publish their ideas on the Internet, there are many places that abound with misinformation. Doing a simple search on Google is a good way, but apply some filters. Try typing “.edu genetic disorders” into the site. This takes the user to links with educational sites that are more likely to provide accurate information.
2. Ask a Local Librarian
Libraries were once considered to be the main way of doing research before the Internet arrived. Academic libraries, particularly those belonging to a university are important resources. A librarian can guide a person to a category of books or to specific books about a specific genetic disorder.
3. Get pamphlets from a Doctor
Asking a doctor, is only a good way to learn about genetic disorders if someone already has the disorder or has a friend or relative who suffers from the disorder. The latter is helpful if the person is a caregiver. Some genetic disorders strike people when they reach their golden years. Many doctors hand these pamphlets out automatically if someone is diagnosed with a particular condition.
4. Join a local support group
This obviously applies only if someone actually has a genetic disorder. The people here often exchange tips, tricks, and share their stories about living with the illness. What can be learned from such places are the life experiences of the people who have a particular illness. People with Muscular dystrophy, for example, have a radically different experience than people with any of the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, one type of which may not be genetic in origin, but there is no proof that it is not genetic.
This does not mean that it is acceptable to ask random strangers about their conditions. This is generally considered rude, and most people consider it an invasion of their privacy. If, however, someone is willing to talk about their condition, it is okay to use this as an opportunity for education. Remember to be respectful.