The Definition of Down Syndrome

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The definition of Down Syndrome: a genetic condition that results when there is an extra copy of a specific chromosome. But how does this happen? This occurs when an error in cell division results in an extra 21st chromosome, which can be detected before or after birth. Down Syndrome affects 1 in every 700 pregnancies, and the risk is even higher if the mother is over 35 years old.

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It is considered a genetic disorder, but is not hereditary. People with Down Syndrome look different and act different from the average person. These people can have low muscle tone, short stature, a flat nasal bridge, a protruding tongue, eyes that have an upward slant, and/or white spots on their irises. They also experience developmental delays. They usually have mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, it just depends on the person.

This means that they will reach developmental milestones later than their peers. They have trouble learning basic tasks or ideas that are simple for people who do not have a learning disability. People with Down Syndrome often have other health complications. Some include: heart defects, gastrointestinal defects, immune disorders, sleep apnea, obesity, and spinal problems. There is no cure for Down Syndrome. It is considered a chronic illness, because while it cannot be medically treated, you can still live with it. The average life expectancy for a person with Down Syndrome is 60 years old. Only 5% of babies nowadays born with Down Syndrome die by the time of their first birthday. The sooner you begin education with these types of people, the better.

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