Potential Medical Problems Associated with Down Syndrome
Babies with Down syndrome are prone to a number of potential medical difficulties and problems.
Around 40 percent of babies with Down syndrome are born with an abnormally developed heart. Most of these conditions are now surgically correctable.
Around 4 percent of these babies are born with a blockage in the upper intestine. This medical problem is called duodenal atresia. This must be surgically corrected to allow food to pass.
This medical problem occurs in around 10 percent of children with Down syndrome. This condition increases with age and may not be apparent on examination. Therefore, it’s wise to check your baby’s thyroid function at least every two years.
Many children with Down syndrome develop a variety of eye problems. For instance, Crossed eyes, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and cataracts are the most common.
Around 50 percent of these children have varying degrees of hearing problems. Their increased susceptibility to middle ear infections contributes to this medical problem.
Instability of the Vertebrae
In 10-20 percent of these babies, the first two vertebrae, where the spinal column joins the neck, are unstable (called atlanto-occipital instability ). Babies with this condition are prone to spinal cord injuries from a jolt during contact sports. All children with Down syndrome should have X rays of the upper spine before entering school and before being allowed to participate in contact sports.
Babies with down syndrome have reduced immunity and small nasal passages. Therefore they are more prone to sinus and ear infections.
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