Down syndrome: What is it?
Conditions and Diseases > Down syndrome: What is it?
Down syndrome is the result of the presence of certain extra genes in the twenty-first chromosome. This extra development is along with the normal development of the other genes. The main characteristic feature of Down syndrome is mental retardation. Children with this genetic disorder have 47 chromosomes in place of the usual 46 chromosomes, the extra one posing the greatest problem.
The actual cause of Down syndrome is still unknown. However, the chromosome test immediately after birth identifies the disorder. This has a larger occurrence in middle-aged mothers. The main physical characteristics of the children with this disorder are short hands, broad feet, short ears and neck, small head and slanting eyes. They lack a lot in mental development.
As the children with Down syndrome do not have a proper body growth, they are prone to infections and defects in their abilities. They have many visual problems, respiratory problems and speech and hearing difficulties. Sometimes the two top vertebrae of the neck lack proper alignment, which does not allow free movement of the neck. These children cannot take part in sports. Now, with the help of certain surgeries one can correct these defects.
The genetic disorder leads to obesity in the children with Down syndrome, which affects their life span. Of course, restrictions in the diet and specific exercises can reduce this problem largely. Such children need individual attention at special schools. They can learn the three R’s, though the rate of learning is very slow. You need extreme patience and tact to deal with these children.
Down syndrome is in perfect unison with mild to severe cases of mental retardation. Therefore, such children and adults have a very bleak future. In some cases, they improve greatly when they get along with other normal people. Therapies and muscle training also provide relief though a complete cure is absent as of now.