Our eating habits are inseparably related to our overall health. Therefore, in most cases, when our nutrition is inadequate, we risk suffering from many forms of illnesses and health complications. Moreover, such state of affairs is even more prominent in people who already suffer from some types of health issues.
Down syndrome sufferers need to put more effort into their weight control, especially when they get older, in order to avoid many health problems which can stem from excessive body weight combined with this condition. Read on to find out more about the relationship between body mass and Down syndrome.
Weight Gain in Down Syndrome
Adults with Down syndrome need to invest a lot of their time into physical activity in order to prevent excessive body weight from accumulating in their bodies. In order to achieve this, they need to take part in regular physical activities through daily routines, spending quality time with their friends and family, dealing with different situations in life and, of course, through the process of paying attention to their nutrition.
Since people with Down syndrome usually suffer from certain levels of mental impairment too, they need all the support from their friends and families they can get, in order to successfully control their weight and lead healthy lifestyles, free from illnesses and other problems of this type.
Basically, children with Down syndrome have a different metabolism than those who do not suffer form this congenital condition. Therefore, their basal metabolism is lower, meaning that they burn less calories while sleeping or resting than their healthy peers. Moreover, this signifies that, once a person with Down syndrome reaches the age of 18 or 20, he/she no longer grows and develops physically. Therefore, his/her need for calories decreases significantly and the need for burning the extra calories rises.
In order to help your loved ones who suffer from Down syndrome, it is crucial to make sure that they too understand the importance of maintaining proper body weight for the sake of health. The process will not be easy and it is always better if the two of you join forces in your battle against those extra pounds.
Once the Down syndrome person is determined to make a change, you should visit the family doctor for a routine check-up. The doctor will pay attention to the presence of any conditions which might interfere with the weight of people who suffer form Down syndrome, ruling these out or diagnosing the timely. For example, hyperthyroidism can be the culprit in these situations. When the doctor agrees that it is safe for the patient to move on with his/her lifestyle changes, you are allowed to move on to the following step.
Basically, the burning of the calories can be achieved through opting for stairs at all time, instead of using the elevator. Additionally, the Down syndrome-affected family member should eat at home only and stay away from fast food or other, unhealthy food sources. Rather, his/her meals should be regularly distributed and balanced in every sense, from planned and limited snacks to healthy and nutritive main dishes and desserts.
Of course, you cannot create a perfect system for the person with Down syndrome and some loopholes can be made. Nevertheless, encouragement and motivation need to remain high, pushing the child to progress and weight loss. You can make these goals more interesting by telling the child that, for every 30 minutes of TV, he/she needs to perform a walk around the block. This way, he/she will remain motivated and make a habit out of walking.
The effects of such life will be remarkable. Some of the first signs will be an increase in positive mood and attitude, as well as the metabolic rate and physical fitness, a decrease in appetite, boost of lung capacity and muscular strength and a decrease in blood pressure and resting heart rate. Simply, life will become better for your child with Down syndrome.
Vomiting Can Be a Serious Problem
Gastroesophageal reflux, or GER is one of the most common conditions which go hand-in-hand with Down syndrome. This condition manifests through a decrease in the function of the lower esophageal sphincter, being a muscle which is in charge of dividing the passageways to the esophagus and the stomach. When this muscle is not functioning correctly, the acids from the stomach may reach the esophagus and damage the tissue. Moreover, the acids can lead to heartburn or tooth decay. Taking into consideration that children with Down syndrome usually suffer from lower muscle tone, their lower esophageal sphincter may not be functioning well too, triggering GER.
GER usually results in vomiting, being the most common symptom of this condition. In fact, children suffering from GER are prone to vomiting after every feeding. Parents need to learn how to notice that the food that their children expel shortly after eating is not spat out, but vomited, observing the spasms of the pylorus muscle.
It is important to notice GER symptoms in the child and seek timely medical assistance since this condition can lead to numerous other health problems when neglected. Therefore, contact your doctor as soon as your child vomits repeatedly, especially after eating.