World Down Syndrome Day: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Of This Genetic Disorder


The way a person looks and the way his/her body functions come from the genes. They are responsible for everything from your hair colour to regulating the body's tissues and organs. Yes, genes! They are made of DNA and every person has two copies of each gene, one inherited from each parent.

21 March is observed as World Down Syndrome Day and it aims to raise public awareness about this disorder.

Each cell in the body comprises of 23 pairs of chromosomes, a total of 46. One chromosome in each pair comes from your mother and the other from your father.

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder which occurs when there is an abnormal cell division resulting in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. This has an effect on the body physically and mentally like impaired physical growth, delayed cognitive ability and a higher risk of some health problems .

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, each year about 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome, which makes it the most common chromosomal disorder.

The physical characteristics of a child with Down syndrome are the following:

There is also a delay in growth and development which includes a defect in speech, delayed development of fine motor skills, and other problems like impulsive behaviour, slow learning, poor judgement, and short attention span , .

Women who have a greater chance of having a child with Down syndrome require screening tests to know whether the foetus is having Down syndrome or not. These screening tests include the following:

Screening tests will not confirm the possibilities of a child having Down syndrome.

Diagnostic tests, on the other hand, will provide accurate information in detecting Down syndrome. These tests include the following:

Down syndrome is a lifelong condition and there is no cure for it. Health services can help improve a child's physical and cognitive development in early childhood. These services include the following:

Children who have difficulties in learning and development should seek educational support from specialized schools who can help them progress.

A person with Down syndrome can live more than 60 years, depending on the severity of his/her health problems .

Down syndrome can't be prevented. If one parent has this condition, there is a 30 to 50 per cent chance that their children will get it too. It is recommended to consult a genetic counsellor before becoming pregnant.

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