Down Syndrome Symptoms:
There are many different types of Down syndrome, but there are certain symptoms which are common among all Down syndrome cases. These include:
Lack of coordination
Spina bifida (a birth defect)
Heredity of Down Syndrome:
It is generally believed that Down syndrome is due to genetic factors. However, it is not known whether or not this is true. There have been several studies conducted on Down syndrome and they have come up with conflicting results.
In any case there is a 50% chance that people with the condition will pass it on to their children.
Down Syndrome Causes:
It is a fact that the causes of Down syndrome are unknown. However, there are several theories on this matter. The most notable ones are:
This theory states that Down syndrome is caused by a combination of genes.
This theory states that Down syndrome is caused by external factors such as pollution or smoking during pregnancy.
Down Syndrome Diagnosis:
One of the most important steps to take in treating Down syndrome is to get a correct diagnosis. This is done by getting an accurate medical history and doing a physical examination. The doctor will ask the patient about the symptoms and also request for a detailed family medical history.
The doctor will then examine the patient looking for physical deformities and medical issues. Some tests may be ordered to rule out other conditions such as thyroid conditions or infections.
Down Syndrome Symptoms during Pregnancy:
During the entire course of the pregnancy, a woman should pay attention to certain symptoms. These can be indicators that something may be wrong. These symptoms can then be brought to the attention of a doctor who can then perform an adequate diagnosis.
1. Pregnant women should be aware of any visual symptoms such as blurred vision or decreased night vision.
2. A pregnant woman should also report to her doctor any loss of sensation or pain in the legs or feet.
3. It is very important to report to a doctor any tingling sensations or numbness in the hands or feet.
4. Also, report persistent coughing or difficulty breathing to a doctor.
5. Report frequent chest pains or discomfort to a doctor.
6. Notice any unusual heartbeats or rhythms.
7. Also report to a doctor any issues with the heart or blood pressure.
These are just some of the symptoms which are commonly found in Down syndrome patients. There are also other symptoms such as:
1. Decreased muscle tone
2. Narrowed chest
3. Slanting of the eyes
4. Small mouth and eyes
5. Small ears
6. Small testes or no testes at all
7. Poor muscle tone and strength
8. Small hands and feet
9. Small nose
10. Thick skin
11. Small waist
12. Curved fingers
13. Poor sleeping patterns
14. Tingling sensations or pain in the hands or feet
15. Vision issues such as blurred vision or decreased night vision
There are several other symptoms as well. It is extremely important for a pregnant woman who experiences any of these symptoms to get it diagnosed at the earliest. These symptoms are not only limited to Down syndrome but can also be a sign of other health conditions as well.
As you can see, Down syndrome (or Trisomy 21) is a very complicated condition. However, with the right treatment and support, people with Down syndrome can lead happy and productive lives. It is extremely important that people with this condition get all the support they can get from friends and family.
Treatment for Down Syndrome:
For a start, early diagnosis of Down syndrome is very important. This gives the patient access to special education programs, as well as physical and speech therapy. Building up the strength and muscle tone of the patient is very important.
It is also very important that a patient with Down syndrome has a healthy and well-balanced diet. Also, maintaining a healthy weight is recommended.
A patient with Down syndrome should be encouraged to participate in a range of leisure activities such as swimming and using the treadmill. Encouraging the use of assistive technology and devices is very important as well. Helping the patient maintain personal hygiene is also recommended.
Getting treatment for Down syndrome is not all that difficult. There are many treatment centers around the world which specialize in this condition. Treatment for Down syndrome is very much like taking care of a patient with special needs.
It’s just that the patient has a greater need than normal.
Living with Down Syndrome:
Now, let us get to the nitty-gritty of Down syndrome.
What is it like living with this condition?
Some of the common physical features of Down syndrome include:
1. Abnormal growth pattern
2. Delayed physical growth
4. Short height
5. Small hands and feet
6. Thin hair
7. Epicanthal folds
8. Flat nasal bridge
9. Small ears
10. Protruding tongue
11. Small, low nose with upturned nares
12. Brushfield spots
13. Mesomelic dwarfism
14. Poor muscle tone
15. Adult-sized teeth
16. Small, Insufficiently developed lungs
17. Brushfield spots
18. Cleft palate
19. Partially fused fingers
20. Small lower jaw
There are a number of other symptoms as well. As you can see, the physical symptoms are severe. However, this does not mean that people with Down syndrome are not normal in their abilities and behavior.
It just means that their abilities and behavior are more like that of a child than an adult.
Let’s go through some of the common characteristics of people with Down syndrome:
1. happy personality
2. Easily made happy
3. Likes to be affectionate to those they are comfortable with
4. Imitates the actions of others
5. Likes to keep familiar objects around them
6. Loves music and dance
7. Responds strongly to colorful environments
8. Takes delight in simple things
9. Plays for a long time after an activity
10. May be stubborn at times
11. Gets confused easily
12. Is very attached to familiar people
13. Shows affection to a few people
14. Is learning to walk and talk later than other children
15. Is awake longer during the night
16. Sleeps longer during the day
17. Is a little clumsy
18. Gets irritated easily
19. Is easily comforted
20. Is sometimes restless
There are many other symptoms that are common in people with Down syndrome. Also, while some of these traits may seem negative, they should not be taken that way. These are just the traits of a person with Down syndrome.
Working with a person with Down syndrome:
While Down syndrome can be challenging to work with, there are actually some benefits. Let’s take a look at them:
1. Are usually very happy
2. Are very accepting of others
3. Are usually very compliant
4. Have great emotional intelligence
5. Are very loving
6. Are usually very willing to please others
7. Are usually very responsive to music
8. Are usually very forgiving
9. Are usually quick to forgive mistakes
10. Are usually willing to give hugs and kisses freely
11. Are usually willing to play with others
12. Are usually willing to be friends with others
13. Are usually very trusting of others
14. Don’t get mad very easily
15. Are usually willing to try new things
Now, let’s look at the flip side of that list. There are some things you need to watch out for:
1. May take longer to learn new things
2. May need to experience something several times before they master it
3. May have a lower attention span
Sources & references used in this article:
- Language symptoms of developmental language disorders: An overview of autism, Down syndrome, fragile X, specific language impairment, and Williams syndrome (ML Rice, SF Warren, SK Betz – Applied psycholinguistics, 2005 – cambridge.org)
- Autism symptoms in toddlers with Down syndrome: a descriptive study (S Hepburn, A Philofsky, DJ Fidler… – Journal of Applied …, 2008 – Wiley Online Library)
- Upper airway obstruction in children with Down syndrome (IN Jacobs, RF Gray, NW Todd – Archives of Otolaryngology …, 1996 – jamanetwork.com)
- Psychiatric symptoms in adults with Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease (TK Urv, WB Zigman… – American journal on …, 2010 – meridian.allenpress.com)
- Down syndrome clinical symptoms are manifested in transfected cells and transgenic mice overexpressing the human Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase gene. (Y Groner, O Elroy-Stein, KB Avraham… – Journal de …, 1990 – europepmc.org)