Down syndrome is a frequent genetic disorder affecting people all over the world. It develops as a consequence of the presence of an extra chromosome. Humans normally have 22 pairs of chromosomes including two sex chromosomes (XX for women and XY for men). In people suffering from Down syndrome there is one extra chromosome 21, which gives 47 chromosomes in total instead or 46 chromosomes, which is normal. Because there are three chromosomes 21, the condition is also known under the name trysomy 21.
Down Syndrome Prognosis
Years ago, prognosis for people suffering from Down syndrome was not so good. Today, fortunately, the life expectancy of such patients is much better and has increased during recent years. A person suffering from Down syndrome used to live approximately 9 years in 1929 and today he/she may reach 50 years of age or even more. The lives of these people have also improved regarding their quality so they usually have full and rich lives and are surrounded by loving family members and contributors to their community. Certain number of people suffering from Down syndrome may even end up in a meaningful relationship.
However, the condition still remains and genetic abnormalities additionally increase the risk for certain diseases. Therefore, the presence or absence of some medial conditions greatly influence life span of these people.
Medical Conditions Associated with Down Syndrome
Some people suffering from Down syndrome do not develop any serious medical condition. Others, however, may end up with serious diseases some of which are life-threatening.
Each and every organ system in the body may be affected by some illness when it comes to Down syndrome patients. For instance, they commonly develop congenital heart diseases, thyroid problems, immune system problems, hearing problems, eye problems and seizures. Apart from that, these patients are highly susceptible to leukemia and some other malignant diseases, seizures, bone/muscle/nerve/joint problems and Alzheimer's disease. Finally, all of them show a certain degree of mental retardation.
What do Experts Say?
Because of all the mentioned people suffering from Down syndrome are at higher risk of premature death. This is the reason why they need to undergo regular check-ups. Only this way certain conditions may be diagnosed and treated on time.
The doctor who treats the child suffering from Down syndrome may give more information regarding the prognosis of the disease. But even he/she cannot predict for how long the patient will live and what the outcome of associated medical conditions will be.