Consanguinity is the union or marriage between people of the same blood. Consanguinity is practiced mainly in third world countries such as Africa and Asia where the Islamic culture is prevalent. Consanguineous marriages form the base of many mental and physical disabilities. In countries such as Iran, consanguinity marriages are widespread and have led to devastating effects such as increased deaths and disabilities in fetal and infants. The paper comprehensively addresses various components of consanguinity marriages including the global prevalence, impact on the health risks of the population, and cultural and ethical considerations of consanguinity marriages.
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Consanguinity is the union between individuals of the same blood. The union takes place between close relatives such as first or second cousins (Bener & Mohammad, 2017).
Identify the global prevalence of consanguinity.
The incidence of consanguinity is determined by numerous factors such as religion, socio-economic, demographic, and cultural factors. The practice is embraced mostly in South India, West Asia, and North Africa with research showing a prevalence rate of 20-50% in these geographical areas (Bener & Mohammad, 2017). First cousin marriages constitute almost 30% of all marriages in the regions mentioned above. Consanguineous marriages are also predominant among immigrant communities residing in highly consanguineous nations like Pakistan, Lebanon, North America, Turkey, Europe, and Australia. The high prevalence of consanguinity unions together with the large sizes of the family in some societies induces expression of autosomal recessive diseases which might come with strange or new syndromes (Bener & Mohammad, 2017).
Describe the impact on population health risks
Consanguineous marriages lead to debilitating effects on the health of the population. According to Khan et al. (2016), offspring sired in a consanguineous unions are at higher risk of contracting anemia (28.6%), hypertension (18.6%), asthma (10%), obesity (17.1%), diabetes (18.6%), and respiratory disease (7.1%) than those born in other marriages. Consanguinity also increases the risk of malformation in the children at alarming rates with mental retardation (28.7%), anemia (14.7%), dwarfism (3.9%), skin disorders (5.4%), deafness and speech complications (23.3%), syndrome (15.5%), and blindness (8.5%) (Khan et al., 2016). These conditions lead to increase in mortality and morbidity rates among the infants. It is therefore advisable for young couples in consanguineous marriages to seek preconception genetic counseling before getting children to avoid the adverse effects of consanguinity.
Discuss the cultural and ethical considerations of consanguineous unions
Consanguinity is determined by a variety of factors such as demographic, cultural, geographic, religious, and socio-economic factors. The practice is usually dominant among the populations with low education, low socio-economic status, and those residing in rural areas. Certain cultures and religions such as Muslim increases the chances of getting into a consanguinity marriage. Consanguinity is associated with various ethical issues such as degradation of the cultural beliefs and values of a specific community (Bener & Mohammad, 2017).
Consanguinity is the union between individuals of the same blood. It is very common in geographical regions with large percentages of Muslims such as Africa and Asia. Consanguineous marriages result in adverse effects on the health of the offspring. For instance, it leads to diseases such as anemia, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and asthma. Moreover, consanguinity causes mental disorders like mental retardation, anemia, dwarfism, skin disorders, deafness and speech complications, syndrome, and blindness. Young couples in consanguineous marriages should seek preconception genetic counseling before getting children to counter the debilitating consequences of consanguinity.
1. Bener, A., and Mohammad, R. R. (2017). Global distribution of consanguinity and their impact on complex diseases: Genetic disorders from an endogamous population. Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, 18(4), 315-320.
2. Khan, J., Ali, A., Khan, B. T., Ahmad, Z., and Shams, W. A. (2016). Impact of consanguinity on health in a highly endogamous population in District Buner, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Journal of Genetic Disorders and Genetic Reports, 2015.
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