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Intellectual Disability And Aging

           Intellectual disability can be described as mental impairments in which the intellectual level of a person is significantly below average. Intellectual disability, a synonymous term for developmental disability, is primarily caused due to developmental errors and is characterized by symptoms including difficulty in learning, mobility, receptive and expressive language. Persons suffering with intellectual disability often find it difficult to lead an independent life, cannot take care of themselves and have difficulty in remembering directions.

          The reasons for intellectual disability include brain injuries, congenital neurological disorders caused due to genetic aberrations, impoverishment, and malnutrition, drug misuse, and premature birth, use of alcohol and smoking by mothers during pregnancy and mental trauma caused due to racial discrimination and child abuse.

          Intellectual disability can be diagnosed before the age of 18. Life expectancy of persons with intellectual disability is 60. However, technological advancements in the field of medical sciences and public health during the 20th century have tremendously increased the life expectancy levels even in persons with intellectual disability. As per a recent statistical estimate, around 60 million persons in developed nations are suffering with some level of intellectual disability. Many of these people would be surviving till their old age.

          Older people suffering with intellectual disability suffer with good number of physical health risks including Fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. Fragile X Syndrome characterized by mitral valve prolapse, musculoskeletal disorders, early menopause, epilepsy and visual abnormalities. Down syndrome is characterized by oral, cardiac, musculoskeletal, neurological, visual and hearing disorders. Another significant problem in older people with intellectual disability is the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

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Intellectual Disability And Aging

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