Our spine, often referred to as the backbone of our body, plays a crucial role in our overall well-being. It provides structural support, houses the spinal cord, and facilitates movement. But have you ever wondered how genetics might influence the health of your spine? While lifestyle factors like posture, exercise, and nutrition play a significant role, genetics also has a say in your spine’s health. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing connection between genetics and spine health.
Dr Mihir Bapat, who is the Director of Institute of Spine Surgery, at Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital said, “Spine health involves a range of conditions that affect the vertebral column, intervertebral discs, spinal nerves, and surrounding structures. Genetics is a substantial risk factor to ascertain an individual’s susceptibility to certain spinal conditions.”
Additionally, Dr. Sunil Kumar Choudhary, who is a Senior Consultant & Head – Orthopaedics, at Asian Hospital Faridabad said, “The spine, composed of 33 individual vertebrae, is a complex structure that can vary from person to person. These variations can be attributed to genetic factors. Researchers have identified specific genes that can affect spinal development, growth, and maintenance. One of the most notable genes associated with spine health is the GDF5 gene, which is involved in the formation of joints and the development of the spine. Mutations in the GDF5 gene have been linked to conditions like congenital scoliosis.
Spine Related Conditons Caused Due To Genetics:
Talking about Scoliosis, Dr. Sunil Kumar Choudhary said, “Scoliosis, a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine, is one of the most common spine-related issues with a genetic component. Research suggests that scoliosis tends to run in families, indicating a genetic predisposition. While it’s not solely determined by genetics, having a family member with scoliosis increases your risk of developing the condition. Several genes, such as the CHD7 gene, have been associated with scoliosis, though the exact mechanisms are still under investigation.”
2. Disc Degeneration and Genetics
Taking about this, Dr Mihir Bapat said, “Intervertebral Disc Degeneration (IDD), characterized by the degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae, has a notable genetic predisposition. Research has highlighted certain genetic markers that can significantly influence the risk and progression of this condition.”
“Similarly, genetic factors can influence bone density, making individuals more susceptible to osteoporosis and, subsequently, spinal fractures. While environmental and lifestyle factors undoubtedly impact spine health, our genetic predisposition can help us identify the clues about existing risk factors and preventive measures for spinal conditions,” he added.
How To Prevent Spine Issues Even If You Have It In Your Genes?
Dr Dipal Shah, a physiotherapist who also shares content related to her expertise on coto said, “There are many health conditions where genetics play a role including spine conditions like scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, kyphosis, degenerative disc disorders and ankylosis spondylitis. Though genetics play a role in progression of these disorders, they are not the only responsible factors. There are many other risk factors like sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity and hormonal issues in females which can aggravate these conditions. So, where genetics are something we can’t control or change, the modifiable risk factors can be managed with alternative therapies and lifestyle modification.”
“Even if someone has genetic predisposition, it plays a very small role in the onset of any spine condition. How you are living your life and how you are treating your body will have a larger impact on the health of your spine than genetics. Maintaining healthy weight and doing regular exercises play a very important role in prevention of any condition even if you have underlying hereditary issues”
[Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.]
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