Down Syndrome is the most common genetic chromosomal disorder and cause of intellectual and learning disabilities in children.
People with this condition can have a range of common physical and development characteristics as well as a higher than normal incidence of respiratory and heart conditions.
Down syndrome always varies in severity among individuals. It causes physical and mental delays hence causing disability. It causes growth delay and medical anomalies. Understanding Down syndrome better, increases the quality of life for individuals with the disorder.
Each individual’s developmental problems differ in severity. They have distinct facial features. They may not have the same features. The common features include:
Bulging And Protruding Tongue
Upward Slanted Eyes
Poor Muscle Tone
Babies with Down syndrome may be born with average size but will grow slowly than children without. These characteristics can and may affect the life quality of an individual.
Individuals with Down syndrome can have a number of medical complications. These may also vary in severity. The complications may be more prominent as they become older. The complications include:
Gastrointestinal defects- GI anomalies can occur in individuals with Down syndrome. They may include abnormalities of the intestines,trachea,esophagus and anus. These puts them at a risk of GI blockage,heartburn and celiac disease.
Heart defects – A good number of individuals with Down Syndrome are born with congenital heart defects. These defects could be life threatening. Most times surgery is required in early infancy.
Sleep apnea – These individuals are at a greater risk of obstructive sleep apnea. This is caused by soft tissue and skeletal changes that cause obstructed airways.
Immune Disorders-The abnormalities in their immune system puts them at a great risk of developing autoimmune disorders,cancer and infectious diseases.
Spinal problems – Some affected individuals have a misalignment of the top two vertebrae in the neck. This condition is called atlantoaxial instability. It puts them at a risk of serious injury to the spinal cord because of the overextension of the neck.
Dementia – This often starts at around the age of fifty. Down syndrome also increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Down syndrome may be associated with other health issues ; endocrine problems,dental problems, seizures and ear infections.For this individuals it is really important to get routine medical care. They should always treat issues when needed. Seeing therapists when need be also helps with having healthy lifestyles.
The life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome had greatly increased from twenty-five years to sixty years. Their life expectancy is greatly affected by the severity of their health complications. Monitoring and taking care of their health helps them have good quality of life.
Understanding that Down syndrome is not a curse rather they are a special kind of human beings. They deserve love, care and a smile on their faces.