Down Syndrome is a genetic condition that results in slower physical and intellectual development. It is one of the most common genetic conditions, affecting approximately 1 out of every 660 births, occurring irrespective of race, religion and socio-economic status. People with Down Syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. Chromosomes are thread like structures composed of DNA and other proteins. They are present in every cell of the body and carry the genetic information needed for a cell to develop.
People with Down syndrome look remarkably similar, regardless of race or color. Their heads are often small and shaped slightly differently from people with 46 chromosomes. Their special facial features include almond-shaped eyes, a protruding tongue and a flattened nose. Their hands are usually small and broad with broad fingers and they are often short and stocky in build.
Parents who have already had a baby with Down syndrome, mothers or fathers who have a re-arrangement involving chromosome 21, and mothers over 35 years of age are most likely to have a baby with Down syndrome. The chance of having a baby with Downs increases with age, from about 1 to 1250 for a woman at age 25, to 1 – 1000 at the age 30, to 1-400 at the age 35 and 1-100 at the age 40.
Signs of Down Syndrome:
- Low muscle tone at birth
- Separated sutures (joints between the bones of the skull)
- Asymmetrically shaped skull
- Round head with flat area at the back of the head
- Small skull
- Almond-shaped eyes, unusual for ethnic group
- Small mouth with protruding tongue
- Broad short hands
- Single crease on palms
- Slow growth and development, with the gap between chronological age and expected maturation steadily increasing
Brushfield's Spots’s Spots of the iris (an unusual spot in the colored part of the eye)