The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year about 6,000 babies in the United States are born with Down syndrome – that’s about 1 of every 691 babies born in the United States each year is born with Down syndrome.
In many cases, educational programs, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead happy, fulfilling lives.
So what is Down syndrome? It is one of the most common genetic disorders. Normally a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies born with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes. This extra copy changes the body’s and brain’s normal development and causes mental and physical problems for the baby.
Even though people with Down syndrome might have some physical and mental features in common, symptoms of Down syndrome can range from mild to severe. Some common physical problems associated with Down syndrome include:
- A heart birth defect
- Stomach problems, such as a blocked small intestine
- Celiac disease, a digestive disease that damages the small intestine
- Problems with memory, concentration and judgment
- Hearing problems
- Eye problems, such as cataracts or trouble seeing objects that are close
- Thyroid problems
- Skeletal problems
The name “”Down syndrome” comes from the physician, Dr. Langdon Down, who first described the collection of findings in 1866. It was not until 1959 that the cause of Down syndrome (the presence of an extra #21 chromosome) was identified.
There are many ways to commemorate Down Syndrome Awareness Month, including organizing an event, donating books about Down Syndrome to your local school, or simply sharing with your kids and family what you’ve learned today!
To learn more about Down Syndrome, please visit CHOC’s medical library at: http://www.choc.org/healthlibrary/topic.cfm?PageID=P02356
To learn about CHOC Children’s Down Syndrome Program, please click here:
- Ira T. Lott, M.D. is a Pediatric Neurologist at CHOC Children’s. His research has focused on the many aspects of Down syndrome, most recently on the relationship between aging and ...
- At CHOC Children’s, there are hundreds of stories of the beautiful and courageous children with Down Syndrome that touch our lives every day. There are many ways to commemorate National Down ...
- CHOC Children’s is excited to announce the recent launch of the CHOC Children’s Down Syndrome Program—An Alliance with the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County. The new program will focus ...