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My father has bipolar disorder. Will I also have it?

My father has bipolar disorder (disease started after my birth). He takes regular dose of  lithium carbonate and stay in control because of it. If he leaves it for a week the symptoms start appearing. He has low IQ level and was poor in studies and logical reasoning. But he is not a mentally retard and has average thinking ability. My grand mother had the same disease (disease started before the birth of my father). One of my father's sister also has permanent mild (below average I would say) bipolar issue. So, I would say that my father and my aunt inherited the disease from my grand mother. My father has three sisters and none of their children (my cousins) and neither me nor my sister have this disease. Me, my sister and my cousins are 20-30 in age and do not show any signs of it. Is there any chance that I might have it at older age? I am totally aware of this disease and what effects it causes to the behavior because I have seen my father, my grand mother and my aunt suffering from it. I am in perfect health state and go to the gym 2-3 hrs a week and do yoga and meditation 2-3 hrs a week as a preventive measure. Will this help? I have never taken a lithium test so I do not know how good my lithium levels are. Should I take lithium tests on regular basis to my check levels? I do not have any disease and had a laser eye surgery to correct short-sightedness caused by TV and video games. I was good in studies and I have good IQ and reasoning capabilities.

My concern is that my father requires regular dose of lithium carbonate to remain in control. None of my  three aunts (father's sister) need medication because only one has very mild permanent symptoms of it and does not require medicine to control it. So, I am the only child in my generation whose one of the parent has it. And hence I am always worried.
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Avatar universal
There is no reason to have a lithium level as you don't take lithium. We normally don't have lithium in our systems. "Permanent" - all bipolar is permanent, there is no cure, only medications that can help control it. It is great that lithium stabilizes your father.

As to your situation, yes, you could develop bipolar since it has a genetic component. With some people it just starts and with others there is some triggering event that sparks it. Good living (exercise, sleep) is always a good thing but it won't keep bipolar from starting if you are going to get it.  Since you get your genes from both parents, then you probably have 25% or less chance of getting it. If both parents have bipolar then you have a 50% chance of having bipolar.
Avatar universal
Those percentages are not entirely correct.  It's true that if bipolar disorder was 100% always inherited by children from their parents then you would have a 50/50 chance of getting it.  But nobody knows all the factors involved in getting a mental disease like bipolar disorder.  I don't have the real stats on hand, but the actual chances of getting bipolar disorder if one parent has it are much lower than 25%.  

The fact that it can be triggered by stuff seems to be true based on how many people have reported it, but nobody knows why or by what except in cases of what we know already are toxic chemicals.  It can also be found to be related to other people in the family having problems with anxiety or depression, but that is also pretty up in the air.  You can't get bipolar disorder like you can get Alzheimer's so there isn't anything you can do to prevent it (from what we know so far).  

In any case, most people who experience bipolar disorder show symptoms for the first time around their teen years.  If you're already older than that you're well outside the range of people who might get it.  
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