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What Causes Down Syndrome?

There are over 120 recognized features of Down syndrome but most individuals have only six or seven. Distinctive features may include an enlarged tongue, low muscle tone, upward slant to the eyes, a gap between the large and second toe, a depressed nasal bridge/flat profile, a small nose, abnormally shaped ears, hyper-flexibility, a pinky finger with one flexion furrow, small skin folds on the corner of the eyes and often mild to moderate retardation. What causes Down syndrome is widely understood in the scientific community, but it's not understood exactly why faulty cell division occurs.

An error in cell division is what causes this chromosomal disorder, experts say. Typically, human cells have 46 chromosomes; half from the sperm and half from the egg. Occasionally, extra genetic material builds up on the 21st chromosome when cells divide improperly and chromosome 21 becomes a trio, rather than a standard pair. In fact, another name of Down syndrome is "Trisomy 21." The triple chromosome will then continue to replicate improperly in each growing cell.

Though we know what causes Down syndrome, many parents are disappointed to learn there is nothing we can do about it. The news used to be a devastating blow to prospective parents who knew their Down syndrome child would only survive nine years or so. However, most adults with Down syndrome today live well into their 50s. Many people with Down syndrome finish school, have jobs, get married and live well. There are certain health risks of having this condition, though. For instance, premature aging, dementia, memory loss, impaired judgment, hearing problems, vision impairment and heart defects are all health problems that may afflict those with this chromosomal disorder.

What causes Down syndrome is of little importance, since aside from having children early, it cannot be wholly avoided. If you've received a Down syndrome diagnosis, then you should be consumed with seeking resources to provide a stable environment at an early age. Half of the babies born with Down syndrome have congenital heart defects, hearing loss or vision problems, which must be addressed. Other medical conditions that often accompany this syndrome include hyper-thyroid, intestinal abnormalities, epilepsy, respiratory problems, obesity and a higher risk of childhood leukemia. While it may seem frightening, raising a healthy, happy Down syndrome child is absolutely possible.

Posted in Dentistry Post Date 04/03/2017


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