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Down syndrome is a genetic disorder. It is also called trisomy It includes certain birth defects, learning problems, and facial features. with Down syndrome also may have heart defects and problems with vision and hearing. How severe or mild these problems are varies from child to child.

Down syndrome is one of the most common genetic birth defects. It affects about 1 in babies. Adults with Down syndrome may live about 60 years, but this can vary. When a baby is conceived, a normal egg cell and normal sperm cell start with 46 chromosomes. The egg and sperm cells then divide in half.

The egg and sperm cells then have 23 chromosomes each. When a sperm with 23 chromosomes fertilizes an egg with 23 chromosomes, the baby will then have a complete set of 46 chromosomes. Half are from the father and half are from the mother.

But sometimes an error occurs when the 46 chromosomes are being divided in half. An egg or sperm cell may keep both copies of chromosome 21, instead of just 1 copy. If this egg or sperm is fertilized, then the baby will have 3 copies of chromosome This is called trisomy Sometimes the extra 21 chromosome or part of it is attached to another chromosome in the egg or sperm.

This may cause translocation Down syndrome. This is the only form of Down syndrome that may be inherited from a parent. A rare form is called mosaic trisomy This is when an error in cell division happens after the egg is fertilized.

People with this syndrome have both normal cells and some cells with an extra chromosome This risk increases with each year of age, especially after age But younger women are more likely to have babies than older women. So most babies with Down syndrome are born to women younger than Chromosome problems such as Down syndrome can often be diagnosed before birth. This is done by looking at cells in the amniotic fluid or from the placenta.

This is a noninvasive prenatal screening. These tests are very accurate. Fetal ultrasound during pregnancy can also show the possibility of Down syndrome. Problems from Down syndrome may not be seen with ultrasound. After birth, your baby may be diagnosed with a physical exam.

The healthcare provider may also take a blood sample. This is checked in a lab to find the extra chromosome. There is no cure for Down syndrome. But with Down syndrome may need treatment for problems such as:. Heart defects. About half of babies with Down syndrome have heart defects. Some defects are minor and can be treated with medicines. Others may need surgery. All babies with Down syndrome should be looked at by a pediatric cardiologist. Babies with Down syndrome should also have an echocardiogram. This is a test that looks at the structure and function of the heart by using sound waves.

This exam and test should be done in the first 2 months of life. This is so that any heart defects can be treated. Intestinal problems. Some babies with Down syndrome are born with intestinal structure problems that need surgery. Vision problems. Common problems include crossed eyes, nearsightedness or farsightedness, and cataracts. Most eyesight problems can be made better with eyeglasses, surgery, or other treatments. Your child should see an eye doctor pediatric ophthalmologist before he or she turns 1 year old. Hearing loss. This is caused by fluid in the middle ear, a nerve defect, or both.

Your child should get regular hearing tests so any problems can be treated early. This will help with language development. Other health problems. Children with Down syndrome may have thyroid problems and leukemia. They also tend to have many colds, as well as bronchitis and pneumonia. Your child should get regular medical care and stay up to date on vaccines.

Learning problems. These vary widely from child to child. They can be mild, moderate, or severe. But most learning problems are mild to moderate. Many children are helped with early intervention and special education. Some people claim that giving high-dose vitamins to children with Down syndrome will improve their learning and development problems. No studies have proved that this works. Complications of Down syndrome vary depending on the body organ affected and the severity of the problem.

Problems include certain birth defects, learning problems, and facial features. How severe the complications are varies from child to child. Treatment will also vary depending on the body organ affected and the severity of the problem. There is no reason to believe parents can do anything to cause or prevent Down syndrome in their child. For women who have had one child with Down syndrome, the chance of having another baby with Down syndrome depends on several things. Age is one factor. Most babies with Down syndrome are born to women younger than This is because women under 35 have more babies than women over Your healthcare provider may refer you to a genetic counselor.

This expert can explain the of chromosome tests in detail. He or she can talk about risks for future pregnancies and what tests are available to diagnose chromosome problems before a baby is born. Some medical organizations advise that all pregnant women of any age be offered screening for Down syndrome. Talk with your healthcare provider about this prenatal screening test. Children with Down syndrome can usually do most things that any young child can do. They can walk, talk, dress themselves, and be toilet trained. But they usually do these things at a later age than other children.

The exact ages of these development milestones is different for each child. Early intervention programs that begin when is a baby can help the child reach his or her potential. with Down syndrome can go to school. Special programs beginning in the preschool years help children with Down syndrome develop skills as fully as possible.

They can also enter a regular classroom. Many children will learn to read and write. They can take part in childhood activities, both at school and in their community. Your child may need physical, occupational, and speech therapy to help with his or her development. Talk with your healthcare provider, other families, and national Down syndrome support agencies to learn what to expect with Down syndrome. You can also learn what may be helpful in raising with Down syndrome.

Special work programs are deed for adults with Down syndrome. Many adults with this disorder can hold regular jobs. More and more adults with Down syndrome live semi-independently in community group homes. They take care of themselves, do household chores, develop friendships, do leisure activities, and work in their communities.

Some people with Down syndrome marry. Most men with Down syndrome cannot father .

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