Down syndrome

Understanding Down Syndrome – A Genetic Disorder

Down Syndrome is a condition whereby a child is born with an extra copy of their 21st chromosomes. It’s other name is trisomy 21.

This condition causes physical and mental development delays and disabilities.

It is named after Dr. John Langdon Down. He wrote a paper in the 1860s.

The name Down syndrome was standardized in 1975.

When reproducing, both parents pass their genes to their children. These genes are always carried by the chromosomes. When the baby’s cells develop each cell is supposed to receive 23 pairs of chromosomes.

This should make 46 chromosomes in total. In children with Down syndrome one of the chromosomes do not separate properly.

The child ends up with three copies or an extra partial copy of chromosome 21, instead of two. Therefore the extra chromosome causes defects.

Three types of Down syndrome
Trisomy 21- This is the most common type. It means there is an extra copy of chromosome 21 in every cell.

Mosaicism – This is when a child is born with an extra chromosome in some but not all of their cells. Anyone with Mosaic Down Syndrome does have fewer symptoms than with one with trisomy 21.

Trans location – This is when a child has only an extra part of chromosome 21. There are 46 total chromosomes. However, one of them has an extra piece of chromosome 21 attached.

Certain parents have a greater chance of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome.
Mothers aged 35 and older are likely to have a baby with Down syndrome compared to young mothers.Paternal age also has an effect. Fathers over 40 years have twice the chance of having a child with Down syndrome.

Other parents who are likely to have children with Down Syndrome are those who have a family history of Down Syndrome and those who carry genetic translocation.

It is also important to note though that all these factors do not mean that your baby will have Down Syndrome. It only means that they may just increase the chance that you may. Please note the word MAY.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. It is purposely to raise public awareness of this disorder.

It also advocates for acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome. They might have special need but you should always remember that they are human. The need love, care and acceptance. They have feelings and emotions.

The colors for Down Syndrome Awareness are blue and Yellow. You may not know anyone with Down Syndrome but still letting the world know about it doesn’t hurt. Let’s support,advocate and publicize.

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