The Power in Knowing: Advocacy in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

As nurses, faculty, and nursing students we are staunch advocates for healthcare promotion and principally disease prevention. Continually, we encourage our patients, families, and friends to become health literate in expectation of living healthy, fulfilling, and satisfying lives. With the incredible growth of technology and research, this is an apt time to take back one’s health. In particular, the developers of 23andMe share equal interests concerning individuals being cognizant about their health report card. Foremost, the initial and most important step is identifying our health risks.

What's 23andMe? Why is it important?

 23andme is an Internet based biotechnology company that offers genetic testing. Don't be fooled, you may discover much more than why you inherited a constellation of freckles and your ancestral lineage. Chiefly, 23andMe provides a detailed health report that sheds light to potential health risks. For instance, scientists carefully comb the DNA to determine whether participants are carriers for diseases such as PKU, beta thalassemia, and the BRCA cancer mutation. Who knew that 23 chromosomes could sustain such knowledge? With a comprehensive health profile at a patient’s grasp, he or she could share their information with their healthcare provider to determine appropriate drug therapies, planning for the future, and managing disease processes. Are you excited about learning your health profile? Consciously, the company marketed this product at a reasonable price of $99 to provide the masses the prospect of providing the key to a door towards a healthier life.  Watch this powerful video below to discover the power in knowledge.  

My story…

Nearly 2 years ago, I read a wonderful article that examined the joy and importance of uncovering one’s ancestry, and the journalist promoted 23andMe as an incredible resource to utilize. As an African-American, I was attracted by the notion of embarking on a journey of discovering my heritage. Therefore, I visited the website and ordered a DNA kit. The kit required a sample of saliva, which encompasses segments of our DNA. From there, I dispatched the sample, and I received my results via the Internet in 6 weeks. Unquestionably, I was eager to unhinge the door of my ancestral past. What's more, I unraveled an unknown and potential health alarm. My results indicated that I had an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and primary biliary cirrhosis, which is an autoimmune disease. Consequently, I shared my results with my primary healthcare provider, and we are keeping a close watch on my health and any manifestations of these diseases.

The Nurse’s Role…

As nurses, faculty and future health care professionals it is our responsibility to:

  • Stay abreast to advancing research and technology
  • Advocate disease prevention and health promotion
  • Share new advances in research with colleagues and interdisciplinary staff
  • Be a patient advocate! 

In the end, nurses are leaders in the healthcare arena. With products such as 23andMe’s DNA kit may be the catalyst that will lead to a reduction in the development of cancers and preventable diseases such as diabetes. It is our job to be leaders and promote and healthier tomorrow.

I encourage readers to share your thoughts and experiences! I can’t wait to read you comments. 


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The health promotion is really good. Something has been done to get this thing going. - Rick Dover Knoxville