The 21st of March 2016 is the 11th Anniversary of the World Down Syndrome Day. Reports state that every year, there is an increase in the number of people with this condition and they wish to work together as this is the reason behind the increasing voice of people with this health issue. This day aims at creating awareness among people about what is down syndrome and what it is to lead life with this issue and also to create an awareness on how people with this problem are playing an important role in the lives of humans and in the smooth operation of the communities. Let us be aware of this condition:
What is down syndrome?
Down syndrome can be stated to be set of physical and mental traits that are caused by problems with genes and this happens before childbirth. Generally, kids and adults with this problem share certain features like short neck and flat face. They also face certain degree of intellectual disability, however, this varies from one person to another. But, in most cases, the disability varies from mild to moderate. Even though, this is a lifelong condition, with the right kind of support and care, children with this problem can grow up as healthy, productive and happy individuals. On the forthcoming World Down Syndrome Day, let us take a resolution to support kids and adults with this problem and let us help them to grow.
How is it caused?
Down Syndrome is caused due to a problem with the Chromosomes of the baby. In general, a healthy individual will have 46 chromosomes, but those with down syndrome will have 47 chromosomes. In rare cases, other chromosome problems can also cause down syndrome. When there are excess chromosomes, there will be changes in the way in which the body and the brain develop. Even though, the exact cause for this to happen is not known, it is stated that a lady can have increased risk factor of giving birth to a baby with higher chromosomes if she:
- Already has a baby with down syndrome
- Has a sibling with down syndrome
- Is older than 35 years, when she becomes pregnant
This is why it is recommended that if a lady plans for another pregnancy with already a baby with down syndrome, it is suggested to get appropriate counseling.
What are the problems faced by kids with this condition?
Most kids with down syndrome will have:
- Lesser than normal level of intelligence
- Loose joints and low muscle tone and there will be improvement in the muscle tone only after attaining late childhood days.
- Short neck, short arms and legs
- Unique facial features like small mouth, slanting eyes, small ears and flat face
Many kids with this problem also born with breathing issues, problems in intestines, ear and heart. These problems generally open up door for other problems like hearing loss and respiratory infections. However, most of these problems can be treated successfully.
How is it diagnosed?
When a lady is pregnant, doctors can identify whether the baby has down syndrome with the help of the following tests:
- Screening tests like blood test or ultrasound during the first and second trimester. These tests will help in identifying whether the growing fetus is at higher risk of down syndrome. However, sometimes these tests can give false results.
- If some abnormalities are found in the ultrasound or blood test, further diagnostic tests like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, will help in identifying the condition appropriately.
Sometimes, babies are diagnosed after the birth and doctors can generally identify the same on the basis of the look of the baby through physical examination.
When talking about down syndrome symptoms, those mentioned earlier like facial features are used to identify the problem.