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Photo by: FLORIDA HOSPITAL FOR WOMEN - High-tech testing can reveal secrets hidden in a patient's genes, thanks to genomic sequencing at the Winter Park Health Assessment Program, offered by Florida Hospital for Women. The program also offers fitness ...
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 4 years ago

Genetic test looks into your future

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Tests serve as crystal ball
by: Brittni Larson

Winter Park residents have a new opportunity to take a look into their health’s future.

At the Winter Park Health Assessment (WPHA) program at the Florida Hospital for Women Winter Park, clients can get their DNA tested for potential health issues. It’s called genomic testing and clients can choose from several areas of health to have tested, including nutrition and weight loss, overall fitness and cardiac health.

This is new technology, and while not totally detailed, does give an overall view, or a blueprint, of the category of DNA tested, said Guita Kurd, registered nurse and director of operations for the WPHA.

“People go read their palm, why not read your genes scientifically and see what to expect in the future,” Kurd said.

After the test, which is not covered by insurance, clients get to sit down and discuss their results with a physician, where they’ll create a health plan of action based on the client’s results and goals.

Kurd said that for example, if someone chose nutrition and weight loss, the test could tell if the person had an obesity gene, and what kind of diet and exercise would be effective for that person. While for one person cardio exercise would be best for losing weight, for another lifting weights would be more effective – the test can give the information necessary to create diet and fitness plans specific to a person’s genes.

“You can turn on a gene based on your lifestyle,” said Herminio Alamo, a registered nurse and WPHA clinical manger. “Genes are like bullets, they load the gun, and the lifestyle pulls the trigger.”

For more information about the Winter Park Health Assessment, visit www.winterparkhealthassessment.com or call 407-303-4461. The office is located at 100 N. Edinburgh Drive at the Florida Hospital for Women Winter Park.

The main focus of the WPHA office is preventative care women’s health. There, they also do all day assessments on clients, where physicians evaluate their overall health and fitness. They do blood work, a stress test, an EKG and women’s health tests such as mammograms and pap smears, among more than a dozen other tests. The assessments are not covered by insurance and are not inexpensive, but offer tests that in a regular healthcare situation would take up to two months to schedule and get results from.

With the WPHA, clients get the tests and results in one day and spend an average of three hours talking with a physician about their health.

“I’m like a medical detective all day,” Alamo said. “I’m looking for trouble, I tell the clients, I’m looking for something wrong with you or something that we can improve.”

Then, they create an action plan to improve the client’s health and make any necessary appointments with specialists they might need for that day or the next.

“Health is really important right now, and if you could identify any issues or problems ahead of time and prevent it from happening, that’s the best way to live your life,” said Krystle Nguyen, health ambassador at WPHA.

Kurd underwent the assessment herself and found that she had a heart abnormality. She had no symptoms or family history, and without the tests probably would’ve found out when it was too late to make a difference in her health, she said. Because of her results, she’s exercising and eating better to keep her heart healthy. And that’s what they hear from most clients – that they’ve been motivated to get healthier because of the assessment. Some even say it saved their lives, especially those who found they had cancer only because of going to their WPHA appointment.

The staff said they are happy to be in a position to help people improve their health before they get sick. Kurd said that preventative care is the future of healthcare.

“Preventative care gives you a better quality of life, and you are more productive at the end of the day, and that’s the bottom line,” Alamo said.

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