When they do get infections, they often last longer. They may have eye or ear problems or digestion problems like constipation. Some may develop leukemia, a type of cancer. Each person with Down syndrome is different and may have one, several, or all of these problems. Kids with Down syndrome tend to grow and develop more slowly than other children do. They may start walking or talking later than other babies. Special help, such as physical therapy and speech therapy , can give kids a boost with their walking and talking skills.
You are born with it. No one gets Down syndrome later in life. It's one of the most common genetic birth defects a birth defect is a problem that happens while a baby is still growing inside his or her mother. Now you know that Down syndrome is caused by a problem with a chromosome. You might already know that we get our chromosomes from our mother and father. Remember the 23 pairs of chromosomes — half are from your mom and half are from your dad. But doctors aren't sure why this chromosome problem happens to some babies.
Myths and facts
It's nothing the mom or dad did before the child was born. Anyone can have a baby with Down syndrome. But the older the mother, the greater the risk. At one time, most kids with Down syndrome did not live past childhood. Many would often become sick from infections. Others would die from their heart problems or other problems they had at birth. Today, most of these health problems can be treated and most kids who have it will grow into adulthood. Medicines can help with infections and surgery can correct heart, intestinal, and other problems.
If the person gets leukemia, medical treatments can be very successful.
Down syndrome is something a person will have all of his or her life. But scientists continue to do research in the hope of finding ways to prevent Down syndrome or at least improve the health and lives of people who have it. People with DS have a lower risk of all major solid cancers including those of lung, breast, cervix, with the lowest relative rates occurring in those aged 50 years or older.
How Common is Down Syndrome?
Constipation occurs in nearly half of people with Down syndrome and may result in changes in behavior. Individuals with Down syndrome tend to be more susceptible to gingivitis as well as early, severe periodontal disease, necrotising ulcerative gingivitis , and early tooth loss , especially in the lower front teeth. Individuals with Down syndrome also tend to have a more alkaline saliva resulting in a greater resistance to tooth decay , despite decreased quantities of saliva,  less effective oral hygiene habits, and higher plaque indexes. Higher rates of tooth wear and bruxism are also common.
Males with Down syndrome usually do not father children, while females have lower rates of fertility relative to those who are unaffected. Down syndrome is caused by having three copies of the genes on chromosome 21 , rather than the usual two. The extra chromosome content can arise through several different ways. These contain additional material from chromosome 21 and occur in about 2.
When combined with a normal cell from the other parent, the baby has 47 chromosomes, with three copies of chromosome The extra genetic material present in DS results in overexpression of a portion of the genes located on chromosome The dementia which occurs in Down syndrome is due to an excess of amyloid beta peptide produced in the brain and is similar to Alzheimer's disease. Down syndrome is associated with an increased risk of many chronic diseases that are typically associated with older age such as Alzheimer's disease.
The accelerated aging suggest that trisomy 21 increases the biological age of tissues, but molecular evidence for this hypothesis is sparse. According to a biomarker of tissue age known as epigenetic clock , trisomy 21 increases the age of blood and brain tissue on average by 6. When screening tests predict a high risk of Down syndrome, a more invasive diagnostic test amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling is needed to confirm the diagnosis. The diagnosis can often be suspected based on the child's physical appearance at birth.
Guidelines recommend screening for Down syndrome to be offered to all pregnant women, regardless of age. They are typically used in combination to increase the detection rate.
Ultrasound imaging can be used to screen for Down syndrome. Findings that indicate increased risk when seen at 14 to 24 weeks of gestation include a small or no nasal bone, large ventricles , nuchal fold thickness , and an abnormal right subclavian artery , among others. Several blood markers can be measured to predict the risk of Down syndrome during the first or second trimester. Testing of the mother's blood for fetal DNA is being studied and appears promising in the first trimester. Efforts such as early childhood intervention , screening for common problems, medical treatment where indicated, a good family environment, and work-related training can improve the development of children with Down syndrome.
Education and proper care can improve quality of life. A number of health organizations have issued recommendations for screening those with Down syndrome for particular diseases. At birth, all children should get an electrocardiogram and ultrasound of the heart. Hearing aids or other amplification devices can be useful for language learning in those with hearing loss.
What Are the Features of Down Syndrome?
Education programs before reaching school age may be useful. Individuals with Down syndrome may learn better visually.
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Drawing may help with language, speech, and reading skills. Children with Down syndrome still often have difficulty with sentence structure and grammar, as well as developing the ability to speak clearly. Efforts to develop motor skills include physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy. Physical therapy focuses specifically on motor development and teaching children to interact with their environment. Speech and language therapy can help prepare for later language. Lastly, occupational therapy can help with skills needed for later independence.
Tympanostomy tubes are often needed  and often more than one set during the person's childhood.
Facts about Down Syndrome | CDC
Efforts to prevent respiratory syncytial virus RSV infection with human monoclonal antibodies should be considered, especially in those with heart problems. Plastic surgery has been suggested as a method of improving the appearance and thus the acceptance of people with Down syndrome. National Down Syndrome Society views the goal as one of mutual respect and acceptance, not appearance. Many alternative medical techniques are used in Down syndrome; however, they are poorly supported by evidence.
Individuals with Down syndrome have a higher risk of early death than the general population. Globally, as of [update] , Down syndrome occurs in about 1 per births  and results in about 17, deaths. Maternal age affects the chances of having a pregnancy with Down syndrome. English physician John Langdon Down first described Down syndrome in , recognizing it as a distinct type of mental disability, and again in a more widely published report in In antiquity, many infants with disabilities were either killed or abandoned.
In the 20th century, many individuals with Down syndrome were institutionalized, few of the associated medical problems were treated, and most died in infancy or early adult life. With the rise of the eugenics movement , 33 of the then 48 U. Action T4 in Nazi Germany made public policy of a program of systematic involuntary euthanization. With the discovery of karyotype techniques in the s, it became possible to identify abnormalities of chromosomal number or shape.
Medical texts had assumed it was caused by a combination of inheritable factors that had not been identified. Other theories had focused on injuries sustained during birth. Due to his perception that children with Down syndrome shared facial similarities with those of Blumenbach's Mongolian race , John Langdon Down used the term "mongoloid". In , 19 scientists suggested that "mongolism" had "misleading connotations" and had become "an embarrassing term".
In , the United States National Institutes of Health NIH convened a conference to standardize the naming and recommended replacing the possessive form, "Down's syndrome" with "Down syndrome". Some obstetricians argue that not offering screening for Down syndrome is unethical. Some bioethicists deem it reasonable for parents to select a child who would have the highest well-being. Within the US, some Protestant denominations see abortion as acceptable when a fetus has Down syndrome while Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism do not.
Advocacy groups for individuals with Down syndrome began to be formed after the Second World War. Efforts are underway to determine how the extra chromosome 21 material causes Down syndrome, as currently this is unknown,  and to develop treatments to improve intelligence in those with the syndrome. Down syndrome may also occur in animals other than humans. In great apes chromosome 22 corresponds to the human chromosome 21 and thus trisomy 22 causes Down syndrome in apes.
The condition was observed in a common chimpanzee in and a Bornean orangutan in , but neither lived very long. The common chimpanzee Kanako born around , in Japan has become the longest-lived known example of this condition.
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Kanako has some of the same symptoms that are common in human Down syndrome. It is unknown how common this condition is in chimps but it's plausible it could be roughly as common as Down syndrome is in humans.
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