Susceptibility is a condition of the body that increases the likelihood that the individual will develop a particular disease. Susceptibility is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Susceptibility is really related to the notion of risk. And, that is, that by virtue of your genetic makeup, an individual is more vulnerable to an environmental exposure, for instance. So an individual with a particular genetic makeup might be more or less affected by an environmental trigger. I think a really good example of this is the idea that, what we hear from a lot of individuals is that they can smoke because their Uncle Harry smoked and lived to be 100. And what we might argue was that Uncle Harry wasn't particularly susceptible to cigarette smoking and maybe the chemicals in the cigarette smoke. Whereas this individual, based on their genetic makeup, might not have the same outcome as Uncle Harry because they are susceptible to those chemicals in the cigarette smoke.- Colleen McBride, Ph.D.