What is Down Syndrome?
How is Down Syndrome Inherited?
An odd rearrangement of genetic material during fertilization causes there to become either three copies of chromosome 21 in each and every cell, three copies of chromosome 21 in only a few cells, or an extra fragment of chromosome 21 attached to another chromosome. Down Syndrome is not inherited from generation to generation. Rather, it's caused by an odd event during, or after, fertilization. Also, the majority of people with Down Syndrome are unable or unlikely to reproduce.
How common is Down Syndrome?
In the picture below, the process of an extra 21st chromosome being added during fertilization is shown.
Physical traits of people with Down Syndrome include low muscle tone, small stature, & an upward slant on the eyes
How is Down Syndrome Diagnosed?
1. Screening Test
2. Diagnostic Test
If a pregnant woman takes a screening test and it shows a chance of the baby having down syndrome, a diagnostic test can be ordered for later down the road to determine if the baby really does have down syndrome.
Treatments are based off of each individual person because everyone has different needs. Some people have treatments like...
- a lifelong special diet
- therapists or doctors to provide stimulation and encouragement
- speech-language therapy
- physical therapy
- emotional therapy
-occupational therapy (helps them adjust to everyday tasks)
- (NEW) psychoactive drugs
- assisstive devices (hearing aids)
Symptoms, Lifestyle & Future
Often times, people with Down Syndrome struggle in the real world. Especially for kids, social lives are very difficult and its hard for them to make friends. Sometimes, kids with Down Syndrome are put in separate classes at school to be around more people like them. However, most of the time, kids with Down Syndrome are able to play sports and games with their friends just like any other kids.
When kids with Down Syndrome grow older, they often have to live with family or in some form of assisted care. AND in recent years, the life expectancy of people with Down Syndrome has increased drastically. The life expectancy is now 60 years old.