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Downs syndrome is a condition whereby a child has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. This is why the condition is also known as “Trisomy 21”. Downs syndrome can cause mental and physical disabilities and delays. Some of the disabilities can shorten a child’s life expectancy. However, those who have this condition can lead a fulfilling and healthy life.
Medical advances in addition to institutional and cultural support help those with Downs Syndrome and their families to deal with the challenges they face.
The Causes of Downs Syndrome
This condition is caused by a chromosome failing to separate correctly. When this happens, the baby has an extra partial copy of or 3 copies of chromosome 21. The additional chromosome can cause issues as the baby’s physical features and its brain develops.
The Types of Downs Syndrome
There are 3 types of Downs syndrome:
- Mosaicism – People with this type of Downs Syndrome have an extra chromosome in some of their cells. They are also likely to have fewer symptoms than people with trisomy 21.
- Translocation – People with this type of Downs Syndrome have an extra piece of chromosome 21.
- Trisomy 21 – People with this type of Downs Syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21. This extra copy is present in every cell.
The Symptoms of Downs Syndrome
When they are born, babies with Downs Syndrome typically have the following characteristics:
- A bulging tongue
- A short neck
- Ears that are atypically shaped
- Eyes that can slant upwards
- Flat facial features
- Poor muscle tone
- Small ears and head
Those who are born with Downs Syndrome tend to be an average size. However, it is likely that they will develop slower than children without this condition. There is usually some type of developmental disability. In addition to this, social and mental development delays can mean that the child also experiences:
- Impulsive behaviour
- Learning disabilities
- Poor judgement
- Short attention span
Other medical complications that can accompany this condition include:
- Alzheimer’s disease in adulthood
- Chronic constipation
- Congenital heart defects
- Hearing loss
- Hip problems
- Late tooth growth
- Poor vision
- Sleep apnoea
People with Downs Syndrome can also be more susceptible to urinary tract infections, skin infections, and respiratory infections.
Where to Find Help
There is a lot of help available. If you were to search for “Downs syndrome support Selby”, for example, you will find a list of groups and organisations that can make a difference to the life of those with Down’s syndrome and their families/carers. You can also visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/downs-syndrome/ for information about the support you and your family can receive.
Interested in helping those who are struggling with their mental health? We offer Mental Health First Aid training in Selby. Contact us at email@example.com