Genetics Northern California

Adult Genetics

Adult GeneticsGenetics is a medical specialty that focuses on conditions caused by changes in a person's genes. Adults may be seen for genetic conditions that develop after childhood. Genetics also provides lifelong care to people diagnosed in childhood with a genetic condition. 

You may be referred if your doctor suspects:  
  1. A genetic condition with a high cancer risk
  2. A genetic condition that affects the heart 
  3. A genetic condition that affects the brain or nerves

Learn what to expect at your visit by clicking on a handout below:

The Genetics Appointment
The Genetics appointment may be in-person, by phone, or by video visit. You could talk with a genetic counselor, a genetics doctor (called a medical geneticist), or both.  Genetic counselors and geneticists often work together as a team.  The genetic counselor asks about your medical history and your family history. A physical examination may be done by the doctor as part of an in-person visit. 

If you received medical care outside Kaiser, you may be asked for a copy of the records. You can get these records by filling out a medical release form. It can sometimes take several weeks to receive records from another hospital or clinic.

Genetic testing is available for some conditions. Testing is most useful when the medical history and family history suggests a change is likely to be found in a person's genes. Before testing, you are told about the possible results and what the results might mean for your medical care and your family.  Genetic testing is usually done by taking a small blood or saliva sample. The sample is sent to a laboratory that specializes in genetic testing.   

After the Visit
The visit note can be viewed in your medical record on You can contact your geneticist or genetic counselor by phone or secure e-mail if you have questions or concerns. If a follow-up test was ordered, you will be told when to expect the results and how the results will be given to you.

Last reviewed: August 20, 2021
Reviewed by: Kimberly Barr, LCGC - Kaiser Permanente Genetics