Down syndrome is a frequent form of mental retardation associated with characteristic morphologic features and many somatic abnormalities. Down syndrome is usually identified at birth. The symptoms of down syndrome can vary widely from child to child.
Babies with down syndrome tend to develop more slowly than other babies do.
They may start walking later than other babies. Down syndrome is characterized by a combination of major and minor differences in body structure. Often down syndrome is associated with some impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth as well as facial appearance.
People with the syndrome may also have other health problems. They may be born with heart disease. They may have dementia. They may have hearing problems and problems with the intestines, eyes, thyroid and skeleton. Children with down syndrome also have a higher-than-average incidence of acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Most cases of down syndrome are not inherited, but occur as random events during the formation of reproductive cells. Both sexes are affected equally. The sexual incidence of patients with down syndrome is the same.
Down syndrome can be detected in a fetus in the first few months of pregnancy by examination of the chromosomes obtained by amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.
The parents of a child with down syndrome are at increased risk for having another child with down syndrome. The chance of having a baby with down syndrome increases as a woman gets older. Down syndrome cannot be cured. However, many people with down syndrome live productive lives well into adulthood.
Causes of Down syndrome
The common causes and risk factor’s of Down syndrome:
- An error in cell division called nondisjunction.
- Mothers who already have one child with down syndrome.
- Use of cigarettes and oral contraceptives.
Symptoms of Down syndrome
Some sign and symptom related to Down syndrome are as follows:
- Upward slant of the eye slits.
- Congenital heart disease, or heart defects that are present at birth.
- Learning disabilities.
- Poor muscle tone.
- Hyperflexibility (excessive ability to extend the joints).
- Broad feet with short toes.
- Small oral cavity.
Treatment of Down syndrome
- There is no specific treatment for down syndrome. Special education and training is offered in most communities for mentally handicapped children. Specific heart defects may require surgical correction.
- Dermatologic problems and bacterial infections must be treated with appropriate medicines.
- Surgery may be used.