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Difference between congenital and hereditary disease

Difference between congenital and hereditary disease

It can be very difficult for an individual person to try to gain an understanding and knowledge of illnesses, conditions, diseases, abnormalities and disorders to understand the major difference between a congenital illness or condition or a disease and a hereditary or genetic condition or disease. While both of the diseases may look similar to each other because both of them are present in a patient’s body from birth, it actually does make a difference how and when an illness, disease or condition is contracted as to whether it should be called as a hereditary disease or should be called as a congenital disease.

Hereditary disease

A hereditary disease or a condition is one that is genetically predetermined. It is relying up on the genetic material or chromosomes that a person inherits from one or both of the biological parents. Colour-blindness and Sickle Cell Anaemia are two types of hereditary conditions or diseases that are passed on to a fetus from the genes of the single parent or both of them. A person may also be a “carrier” of an illness, disease or condition without actually having the disease. With some diseases, if a person only inherits the trait from one parent, they are generally referred as having a recessive trait. While for some conditions, it only takes inheriting it from one parent, for others it takes inheriting the trait from both parents in order for the condition to develop.

Things may get complicated while moving further, some illnesses and diseases are deemed hereditary – such as some mental illnesses and diabetes, but just having a predisposition for the illness does not surely mean it will develop. A person, whose parents are suffering from diabetes, may be much more genetically likely to develop the disease but because of the lifestyle choices, overall health, etc. may not actually develop diabetes. This person may still pass the predisposition onto his or her children, however, through genetics.

Congenital disease

A congenital disease or condition is one that develops not from the family history or genetics, but also by factors  which occur while the child is still in-utero in the such as pathogens . At different stages of fetal development, the fetus may or may not be sensitive or at risk for abnormalities and disabilities – such as congenital heart and other organ disorders. This may be because of the environmental factors, the health or condition of the mother, or for unknown reasons, a fetus may develop an illness, disease, condition or other abnormality that will be present when he or she is born. A congenital disease can be transferred from the parent to the child.

Major difference

  • A hereditary disease is inherited from the parents to the baby by genes while on the other hand  congenital disease or condition occur during or after birth ,it can be transferred from parent to child but not necessarily inherited .
  • An hereditary disease do not always show symptoms because although it is  passed down from the parents the child may only be a carrier. It can also show up late into adulthood. Congenital diseases symptoms can be seen before birth .

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