A condition that's talked about a lot but not well understood, TheSite.org clears up the confusion about Down's syndrome.
What is it?
People with Down's syndrome all have a certain degree of physical and learning disability. Every day in the UK between one and two babies are born with Down's syndrome, which means that one baby in 1000 has the condition.
How does it affect people?
Someone with Down's syndrome will look physically distinctive. Characteristics include upward-slanting eyes, a flat facial profile with a flat nasal bridge and a small mouth. 40-50% of people with Down's syndrome have heart problems, and a significant number have hearing and sight problems. All people with Down's syndrome have some degree of learning disability, although the handicap varies person to person.
What causes Down's syndrome?
Down's syndrome is a genetic condition caused by an extra chromosome. It can come from either the mother or the father, although research shows that older mothers have a higher chance of giving birth to babies with Down's syndrome. The reason for this is unknown.
This is generally made at birth when the baby may already have some or all of the physical symptoms of Down's syndrome and slower development. A chromosome test would then need to be done to confirm the diagnosis. If necessary, a test can be done prior to the baby's birth, although this can increase the risk of miscarriage (one in 100 to 200).
What treatment is available?
Speech and language therapy, counselling and support.
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