Celebrate Down Syndrome Awarenes Month

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a great time to learn about this condition and celebrate the achievements and abilities of people with Down syndrome!

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:

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