NATIONAL DOWN SYNDROMENovember 3, 2020
National Down Syndrome, commemorated on the 20 October is a day to put a stop to the stereotypes that surround down syndrome.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder, that is caused when there is an abnormal division in the cells causing an extra genetic material from chromosome 21.
According to Mayoclinic, down syndrome is mostly caused by trisomy 21 (three copies of chromosome 21) instead of having the two normal cells. Trisomy 21 is caused by abnormal cell division in the development of the egg or sperm cell.
When people have down syndrome, physical defaults are likely. These include flat noses, protruding tongue, short neck and weak muscle tone. Some people with down syndrome also experience health problems but that is uncommon. Should they do its mostly heart conditions, eye sight and hearing issues.
Doctors are not sure what sure what could cause down syndrome but advise that women that have children after the age of 35 have a higher chance of giving birth to down syndrome children. There are three types of down syndrome.
- Trisomy 21, this is when there are three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two.
- Translocation, here the cell has part of an extra chromosome. But attached to another chromosome instead of chromosome 21 being on its own.
- Mosaic Down Syndrome, this is the rarest type where only some cells have an extra chromosome.
Physical symptoms of down syndrome include but not limited to:
- An awkward shape of the eye, that is not normal for their ethnic group.
- Nose is flat
- A tongue that sticks out of the mouth
- Hands and feet that are shaped in an abnormal way.
Mental symptoms include but not limited to:
- Children who are born with down syndrome are slow to progress in terms of crawling, walking, talking and learning how to bath, going to the toilet, getting dressed, etc.
- Other symptoms also include slow learning, and usually require extra time in doing everything.
Down syndrome cannot be really treated or cured but when born with it, speech therapy, physical, occupational and educational therapy helps improve livelihood of the child as they grow. Although these will not cure down syndrome, it will improve social skills, physical and other development issues.
Pregnant moms and future moms are encouraged to take care of themselves before, during and after pregnancy. It is also important to note that the body needs to receive the correct vitamins and nutrients.
It is more useful to educate each other than stereotype and stigmatise those affected by down syndrome.