Down Syndrome – Symptoms and Characteristics

One of the most common chromosomal disorders, Down syndrome is associated with the mental retardation and malformation in a newborn. The main cause of Down syndrome is the presence of an extra 21st chromosome. Generally children with Down syndrome show slower physical and mental development than a normal child. There may also be other health issues like dementia, hearing problems and problems with eyes, intestine, thyroid and skeleton. Women with late pregnancies are more prone to having children with Down syndrome.

The physical characteristics related to Down syndrome can vary from child to another. While some may have acute symptoms, others may experience mild symptoms. Most of the children with Down syndrome will have broad facial profile, a short neck, a broad forehead, an upward slant to the eye, white spots (Brushfield spots) in the iris of the eyes etc. They have a small mouth with slightly protruding tongue. They have short legs and arms and there are large spaces between the first and second toes.

Children with Down syndrome suffer from poor muscle tone. They also suffer from learning disabilities and weak reflexes.

Those with Down syndrome may also suffer from major health disorders like congenital heart defects, respiratory problems, and childhood leukemia and are likely to catch an infection quickly. Cardiac problems are mostly associated with this condition and such children suffer from progressive heart problems. The most common congenital heart defect in such children is Atrioventricular septal defect. Some children may have to undergo a heart surgery. Children with Down syndrome also suffer from repeating respiratory ailments like cough and cold.

Vision and hearing problems, epilepsy, skin problems and thyroid problems are also associated with Down syndrome. Such children may also be obese. They may suffer from hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and a scarcity of growth hormone.

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