Down syndrome is a genetic condition that arises from an abnormal cell division process, resulting in either a complete or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material affects the development and physical characteristics of individuals with the syndrome.
Down syndrome may cause development delays and permanent disabilities. In children it can lead to poor learning ability. It also causes gastrointestinal disorders, heart disorder among other medical disorders.
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Down syndrome Symptoms
The symptoms occur differently in different people. They include;
- Small ears which are unusually shaped
- A tongue that’s bigger than usual
- Short neck
- Face that appears to be flat
- Poorly developed muscle tone
- Small hands and feet
- Stunted growth
- Slow growth
Down syndrome Causes and types
When a portion of chromosome 21 is attached to another before or at conception known as Translocation Down syndrome and this type can be inherited.
If a person happens to have an extra chromosome 21 instead of 2 which lead to abnormal cell division during sperm and egg development, and this is called Trisomy 21 Down syndrome.
When one has some cell but not all with an extra copy of chromosome 21 and this occurs during fertilization and is termed as Mosaic Down Syndrome.
Translocation Down syndrome can be inherited from parents, but it is relatively uncommon, with only 3 to 4 percent of children with Down syndrome being affected by it. Moreover, not all of these cases are passed down from one of the parents.
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Down syndrome Risk factors
There are those parents who may be at higher risk of having Down syndrome kids and this depend on some factors including;
- Parents who have one kid with Down syndrome are at a risk of getting another kid with the disorder and at the same time the parents themselves have a translocation.
- If both parents carry the genetic translocation that causes Down syndrome, there is a high likelihood that their children will be affected by the condition.
- Old maternal age as older ovum is at great risk of having improper chromosome division.
Down syndrome Complications
- Down syndrome leads to low or weak immunity which is caused by immune disorders in their system, and such are at the risk if contacting some form of cancer and done infectious diseases.
- Heart defect where kids born with Down syndrome are at the risk of having heart problems.
- Down syndrome patients are at the risk of being obese
- Individuals with Down syndrome are at an increased risk of developing leukemia. Additionally, they are also at a heightened risk of developing dementia, which may present symptoms later in life, typically around the age of 50.
- They are also at a risk of having spinal problems whereby their two top vertebrae on their neck are misaligned.
- Abnormal development of the digestive system mostly in organs like esophagus, intestine, anus and trachea.
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Down syndrome Life expectancy
With the new approaches to managing Down syndrome, individuals with the condition can now live well into their 60s or beyond, depending on the severity of their health issues.