A healthy baby shows the presence of 23 pairs of chromosomes, wherein each of the 23 chromosomes are derived from the individual parents. Any form of additions or deletions in this genetic coding renders the child to be abnormal. The risk of abnormal pregnancies increases with the age of the mother to be.
Statistics highlight that one out of every 800 to 1000 babies is detected with Down syndrome. Children born with this disorder show the presence of three 21st chromosomes instead of two. As a consequence the child is born physical deformities and varying degrees of mental retardation.
Children with Down syndrome demonstrate delayed physical and cognitive development. Their facial features also show typical characteristics that include a flat facial profile, a wide forehead, a short neck, eyes that slant upwards, the slits of the eyes are narrow, white spots in the irises of the eyes called Brushfield spots, peculiarly shaped ears, a small depression close to the nose with slightly flattened bridge across, and small mouth with the tongue protruding slightly. The limbs and digits of such children are also short with a wide space between the first and second toe. The palm shows the presence of a horizontal, deep crease. The body portrays weak muscle tone and hyperflexible joints.
Apart from these evident physical deformities and retarded cognitive capabilities, children with Down syndrome have various other medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, gastrointestinal disorders, problems with the respiratory system, childhood leukemia, being more prone to infections due to decreased immunity, vision and hearing problems, epilepsy, gastrointestinal problems, thyroid problems obesity, atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
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