Is Degenerative Disc Disease Hereditary?
Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a medical condition in which the intervertebral discs that cushion the spine start to break down over time. This can cause pain limited mobility other symptoms in affected individuals.
While spinal discs naturally wear down as we age certain factors can expedite this process including injury poor posture repetitive stress. However research suggests that genetics may also play a role in the development progression of DDD.
Evidence of Genetic Factors
Several studies have indicated that certain genes may increase a person’s risk of developing DDD. For example researchers have identified mutations in the COL11A1 COL9A2 genes that are associated with an increased susceptibility to spinal degeneration. Additionally a study published in the journal BMC Genetics found that people with a variation of the ADAMTS5 gene were more likely to develop DDD than those without the variation.
However while these findings suggest that genetics may play a role in DDD they do not necessarily mean that the condition is hereditary.
Understanding Hereditary Conditions
To be considered hereditary a condition must be caused by a specific genetic mutation that can be passed down from parent to child. While some genetic variations are associated with an increased risk of developing DDD there is not yet evidence to suggest that any single mutation exclusively causes the condition.
While a family history of DDD may increase a person’s risk of developing the condition this is likely due to shared environmental lifestyle factors as well as a genetic predisposition to spinal degeneration.
In conclusion while genetics may play a role in the development progression of DDD the condition is not necessarily hereditary. While further research is needed to fully understthe genetic factors that contribute to DDD individuals with a family history of the condition may benefit from taking steps to protect their spinal health such as maintaining good posture staying active seeking medical attention if they experience any symptoms of DDD.
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