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Down's Syndrome: Know all about this condition

There is no cure for this condition. But therapy can help in management and with it a person can live a full and meaningful life. @Shutterstock

Down Syndrome is a genetic condition that has no cure as yet. But it can be managed very well with love and care. Read on to know it all.

Down's Syndrome occurs in people who have an extra copy of chromosome 21. It is characterized with difficulty in learning. People with this condition also have distinct physical characteristics. This is a genetic condition and around 5000 children are born with this condition every year. According to Dr Mitesh Shetty, HOD & Consultant - Medical Genetics, Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru, "Down's Syndrome accounts for 1 in every 900 live births in India. It is a condition where the baby has an extra copy of chromosome 21. Hence Down's syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21. This results in an altered development of the baby's body and brain posing physical challenges in life." Dr Shetty further adds that a child with Down's Syndrome has typical physical features like -

  • A flatted face with a flat nose
  • A short neck
  • Small ears
  • Open mouth with the tongue stuck out
  • Almond-shaped eyes slanting upwards
  • Shorter height
  • And smaller hands and feet.

There are different types of this syndrome - free trisomy, translocation and/or mosaic (mixture of normal and abnormal cell). Although not curable, this condition can be managed through life with neurodevelopmental therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy."

Symptoms of Down Syndrome

Chromosomes define a person. Since people with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome, it causes mental and physical abnormalities in a person. Most people with Down syndrome have flat noses and small ears. They may also experience heart problems and trouble hearing and seeing. Almost all will experience mild to moderate issues with thinking, reasoning and understanding. They may also take a longer time to learns basic things like walking, talking, and developing social skills. But with proper care and therapy, they can learn and pick up new skills.

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Treatment options

On this World Down Syndrome Day, it is important to know that there is no cure for this condition. But therapy can help in management and help a person live a full and meaningful life. It may affect different people in different ways and two individuals may have varying degrees of disabilities. Regular check-ups to monitor mental and physical condition and timely intervention in the form of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counselling or special education will go a long way in helping them live a normal life. parental care and support, medical guidance and community support is very important to manage this condition.

Causes of Down Syndrome

The exact cause of this condition is not known. It is a genetic disorder where you are born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, if you are above the age of 35 at the time of delivery, you risk of giving birth to a child with this condition is significantly higher. But sometimes, even younger mothers give birth to children with this condition. People with a family history of Down syndrome are also likely to have a child with this condition as are people who carry the genetic translocation.

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