Valley Healthcare

For parents and expectant parents, there are countless items to check off and a seemingly endless list of things to worry about. But for parents of children with Down Syndrome, an added pressure includes facing misconceptions and even discrimination because of this condition.

Roughly one in every 700 babies born will have Down Syndrome, and it’s a condition that roughly 6,000 babies are born with each year. Down Syndrome happens when a child has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21, and the extra genetic materials causes developmental changes and traits that are now known as Down Syndrome.

While most everyone knows or has met someone with Down Syndrome, sometimes we don’t know much else about the disease. But the facts have changed over the last few years, and with developments in medicine, children and adults with down syndrome are living fuller and healthier lives more than ever before.
Down Syndrome Facts:

  • Down Syndrome is found in every race and economic level.
  • Incidence of Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother, but because younger women are more fertile, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to moms under age 35 – meaning the stereotype that “it only happens to older moms” isn’t really true.
  • Down syndrome does increase the risk of certain conditions like congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, childhood leukemia, and thyroid issues. Because these conditions are all usually treatable, people with Down Syndrome are living fuller, healthier lives.
  • Each person with Down Syndrome is an individual, and so they do not all have the same traits or appearance – someone you know may have Down Syndrome and you may not even realize it.
  • Down Syndrome is not a death sentence. In fact, the life expectancy has increased dramatically – from 25 in 1983, to 60 years or older today.
  • Children with Down Syndrome are attending (and finishing) school, getting college degrees, and starting businesses or successful careers. Though some patients experience cognitive delays, these are usually mild to moderate and come with a whole host of talents and skills that are part of who these wonderful people are!

So don’t lean on old, outdated knowledge about Down Syndrome. To learn more or donate, visit the SOFT website. If you’re a parent of a child with Down Syndrome or an adult living with Down Syndrome and you’d like to speak with a Valley Healthcare physician about bettering your quality of life or that of your loved one, call our main line at 706-322-9599 and schedule your appointment today.

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