Down Syndrome

Sydney and Ana

What is it?

Usually a person has 46 chromosomes, 23 inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when there is a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

How common?

It occurs one in every 691 babies in the United States.

What causes it?

The only known cause that could contribute is the mother's age. Otherwise they are not sure why the extra chromosome occurs.

Can it be prevented?

No. There is no link between environmental factors or the parents activities before or during pregnancy. Only one percent of Down Syndome cases are inherited.


Usually identified at birth by certain physical traits. (Low muscle tone, single deep crease across the palm of the hand, flattened facial profile and an upward slant to the eyes) Parents can do tests before the baby is born to see if the baby has Down Syndrome.


Early intervention programs involve therapists and special educators to help develop motorskills, language, social skills and self help skills. Down Syndrome can not be treated they can only help with the symptoms.


Complications of Down Syndrome are heart defects, leukemia, infectious diseases, dementia, sleep apnea and obesity. In 1910, a baby born with Down Syndrome usually didn't live past the age of ten. Now people with Down Syndrome can libpve to the age of 60 and beyond.

Quality of Life

Someone with Down Syndrome may have difficulty learning and using social skills. Also, some children may not be very nice because of their condition.

Where can parents get further information?

Parents can find more information from the doctor, online and support groups.