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About Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is genetic disorder and the most common causeof birth defects in human. A person born with this disorder has 47 instead ofusual 46 chromosomes. Since this is usually an extra copy of 21stchromosome, this type of Down syndrome is also known as trisomy 21.

This extra chromosome is responsible for all problemspatients suffering from Down syndrome have, especially because it affects thedevelopment of the brain and whole human body. Down syndrome patients arecharacterized with symptoms such as slightly flattened profile and upward slanteyes. In most cases, these people have flat bridge of the nose, small mouth andhead, while their neck is also often very short, with some excess skin atthe back. Their ears are also very small and their hands are wide and short,with very short fingers and with a single crease in the palm. Children sufferingfrom Down’s syndrome are usually smaller than healthy children of the same age. At birth, these children have decreased muscle tone but theyare able to extend their joints quite a lot (this condition is known as hyperflexibility).

There are different problems with the mental and social developmentof children with Down’s syndrome. Most commonly, they are slow learners which can’t pay attentionfor a long period of time. People with Down syndrome usually have mild to moderatemental problems, but some may have more severe difficulties. Impulsive behaviorand poor judgment are often seen in these kids, as well as anger andfrustrations once they grow older and realize their limitations.

Possible Health Complications

People suffering from Down syndrome often experience variousmedical complications. These patients may suffer from different heart problemsand difficulties in the functioning of the gastrointestinal system or the lungs.About 40% of children with Down syndrome have some congenital heart defects andfor that reason newborns are tested to these problems.

Another problem which is found to affect children with Downsyndrome is leukemia. These kids have 10 to 15 times higher chances to developleukemia than healthy children of their age.

Prevention of Down Syndrome

Exact cause of Down syndrome is still unknown. No one cantell why some children happen to suffer from this genetic disorder. Whatdoctors know so far is that religion, race or economic status of the parentsplays no part in the development of this disorder. Many doctors claim that therisk of having a child with this syndrome increases significantly after motherturns 35. People who have family history of Down syndrome are advised to getsome medical counseling and those who already have a child with this conditionshould known that they are exposed to greater risk of having another baby withDown syndrome.

Amniocentesis, nuchal translucency ultrasound and chorionicvillus sampling tests can detect Down syndrome in first few months of pregnancyand every women may be screened for this syndrome.

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