Morning Mix


Medical Genetics: What you need to know

Posted at 10:51 AM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-29 10:51:09-04

Spectrum Health Medical Group Division of Medical Genetics includes both physicians and genetic counselors as health care providers. They work together to aid in the diagnosis of individuals and families who may be at risk for a genetic condition.

Dr. Laurie Seaver, a board-certified medical geneticist from Spectrum Health, came on the show and talked about the reasons why an individual or family might be referred for a genetics consultation and what to expect from a visit.

Medical geneticists work together with genetic counselors, medical assistants, and other support staff. They help families understand the impact of birth defects and genetic disorders on their lives by providing education, support, and other resources to guide them and their doctors on the care they'll need throughout their life.

They take the comprehensive and holistic approach to the patient and the family by studying the family and medial histories, perform a physical examination, and sometimes order genetic laboratory tests. They do this to make a diagnosis or to determine the risk of a genetic condition.

Common reasons an individual or family might be referred include:

  • A birth defect, delays in development or intellectual disability, autism, loss of vision or hearing, unusual growth patterns in children and children exposed to alcohol or other medications or substances during the pregnancy.
  • An abnormal result on the newborn screening test.
  • A family history of a genetic disorder or birth defects.
  • A strong personal or family history of cancer, especially cancers occurring in young people, or people with more than one type of cancer
  • A history of repeated miscarriages.
  • A pregnant woman might see a genetic counselor for concerns about the health of the baby due to lifestyle, medications or medical history, or findings on the ultrasounds or blood tests performed on the mother.
  • Concerns about current or future pregnancy due age of the mother or father at time of pregnancy.
  • For some of these concerns, the patient may only see one of our genetic counselors. If a physical examination or complex medical concerns are identified, the physician also sees the patient.

Patients must have a referral from their physician in order to have an appointment scheduled.

Spectrum Health Medical Group Division of Medical Genetics is located at 25 Michigan Street Northeast in Suite 2000. For more information call (616) 391-2700.