Links to Medical Resources
Adults with Down syndrome show different signs of premature aging, including Alzheimer's, impaired judgment, hypothyroidism, celiac disease, and possibly diabetes.
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People with Down syndrome are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's than the typical population. Alzheimer's in people with Down syndrome usually occurs in their late 40s or early 50s. Common symptoms are changes in daily routine, seizures, and changes in mental processes.
Atlantoaxial instability affects the two vertebrae at the top of the spinal cord and causes excessive movement from those vertebrae. Most of the time, this has no affect on daily living, but can have an effect on the nerves. Persons with Down syndrome should be evaluated for atlantoaxial instability before participating in any type of rigorous sport.
The diagnosis of children having both autism and Down syndrome has increased over the years. Autism causes an impairment in both social and communication skills, along with repetitive behaviors. The diagnostic process is done by a psychiatrist who uses diagnostic criteria.
Newborns with Down syndrome typically have high red and white blood counts, but have a low platelet count. These abnormalities tend to repair themselves, but should be monitored.
Children with Down syndrome develop teeth at a slower rate and do not always follow the typical pattern of teeth development. Due to the high rate of heart defects, people with Down syndrome may need medication before undergoing any dental procedures. A physician should be consulted before any procedure.
People with Down syndrome are at a higher risk for endocrine problems, which consists of problems with the thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands. Some of these problems include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and problems with the growth hormones.
ENT: Ear, Nose, and Throat
Children with Down syndrome are more susceptible to ENT problems throughout their lifetime, due to the structure of their face and their small ear canals. Concerns include are external ear canal stenosis, chronic ear infections, chronic sinusitis, sleep apnea, and hearing loss.
These problems can occur due to two reasons, including developmental or functioning problems. Malfunctioning of the gastrointestinal tract can lead to more serious problems, especially during the early stages of life. The most common gastrointestinal problem found in people with Down syndrome is Gastroesophageal Reflux, which is the movement of food from the esophagus to the stomach. A higher incidence of Celiac disease is also noted. Celiac disease is a condition that is only triggered by gluten, which causes damages to the small intestines when consumed.
Heart Related Conditions
Approximately 50% of children born with Down syndrome also have some type of heart anomaly and must be checked by a cardiologist at birth if a heart condition is present. Possible conditions consist of different things, include atrioventricular septal defects, ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus, or other defects.
Most people with Down syndrome are affected by at least one mental health issue at some point in their life. These issues may include depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, or anxiety problems.
Neurology is the study of the human nervous system which is affected in people that have Down syndrome. The most common way this affects them is developmental disabilities, atlantoaxial instability, seizures, and hypotonia.
Over half of children with Down syndrome have some type of vision problem. The most common problems seen in children with Down syndrome include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and squinting. All children should be checked on a regular basis to check for developing conditions.