In the United States, 6,000 children are born with the disease each year
TYLER, Texas (KETK) – October is recognized as Down Syndrome Awareness Month, according to Texas Health and Human Services.
Each year, approximately 6,000 children are born with this disease in the United States. Down syndrome is the most frequently diagnosed chromosomal disease in the country.
A person usually has 46 chromosomes and 23 from each parent.
Babies born with Down syndrome have a copy of chromosome 21, which affects their development.
The condition also affects about one in 700 babies.
There are three types of Down syndrome:
- Down’s syndrome – every cell has three copies of chromosome 21. Most people have this type.
- Translocation Down Syndrome – some or all of extra chromosome 21 is present, but it is attached to a different chromosome. This occurs in about 3% of people with Down syndrome.
- Mosaic Down Syndrome – cells have a combination of the above two conditions. It affects about 2% of people with Down syndrome.
People with Down syndrome have a higher risk of having breathing and hearing problems as well as thyroid or eye problems or other health problems.
They can also have problems like low birth weight and heart defects that can lead to death in the first year.
About 40% of babies born with Down syndrome have congenital heart defects. These problems can affect the shape of their heart and how it works, but most of these problems can be treated.
People with Down syndrome have different abilities, and development may be slower for some people.
“Before coming to work at HHSC, I had worked as an early intervention specialist with a local early childhood intervention program (ECI) and worked with children of different abilities,” said Erika Alvarez, liaison family ECI. “Helping families and witnessing their progress is truly heartwarming. I fondly remember a mother who had a daughter with Down’s syndrome. She initially struggled to come to terms with her daughter’s diagnosis, but quickly became her daughter’s biggest advocate. The mom became very involved in the sessions, asked for resources and joined groups to surround herself with support.
Health experts have also mentioned that it is important to enroll children with Down syndrome in different programs such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. This will help their development so that they can reach their full potential.
Through the HHS, families can contact the Early Childhood Intervention Services and Healthy Texas Babies programs and read the Information About Down Syndrome for New and Expecting Parents pamphlet.
To learn more about Down syndrome, click here and here.