Down Syndrome - Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of Down syndrome are characterized by the neotenization of the brain and body to the fetal state. Down syndrome is characterized by decelerated maturation (neoteny), incomplete morphogenesis (vestigia) and atavisms. Individuals with Down syndrome may have some or all of the following physical characteristics: microgenia (abnormally small chin), oblique eye fissures with epicanthic skin folds on the inner corner of the eyes (formerly known as a mongoloid fold), muscle hypotonia (poor muscle tone), a flat nasal bridge, a single palmar fold, a protruding tongue (due to small oral cavity, and an enlarged tongue near the tonsils) or macroglossia, "face is flat and broad", a short neck, white spots on the iris known as Brushfield spots, excessive joint laxity including atlanto-axial instability, excessive space between large toe and second toe, a single flexion furrow of the fifth finger, a higher number of ulnar loop dermatoglyphs and short fingers.

Growth parameters such as height, weight, and head circumference are smaller in children with DS than with typical individuals of the same age. Adults with DS tend to have short stature and bowed legs—the average height for men is 5 feet 1 inch (154 cm) and for women is 4 feet 9 inches (144 cm). Individuals with DS are also at increased risk for obesity as they age.

Characteristics Percentage Characteristics Percentage
stunted growth 100% flattened nose 60%
mental retardation 99.8% small teeth 60%
atypical fingerprints 90% clinodactyly 52%
separation of the abdominal muscles 80% umbilical hernia 51%
flexible ligaments 80% short neck 50%
hypotonia 80% shortened hands 50%
brachycephaly 75% congenital heart disease 45%
smaller genitalia 75% single transverse palmar crease 45%
eyelid crease 75% macroglossia (larger tongue) 43%
shortened extremities 70% epicanthal fold 42%
oval palate 69% strabismus 40%
low-set and rounded ear 60% Brushfield spots (iris) 35%

Individuals with Down syndrome have a higher risk for many conditions. The medical consequences of the extra genetic material in Down syndrome are highly variable, may affect the function of any organ system or bodily process, and can contribute to a shorter life expectancy for people with Down syndrome. Following improvements to medical care, particularly with heart problems, the life expectancy among persons with Down syndrome has increased from 12 years in 1912, to 60 years. In March 2012 the Guinness Book of Records website listed Joyce Greenman, now 87, of London, who was born on March 14, 1925, as the oldest living person with Down syndrome, (recorded correct and checked as of 29/04/08). The causes of death have also changed, with chronic neurodegenerative diseases becoming more common as the population ages. Most people with Down syndrome who live into their 40s and 50s begin to suffer from an Alzheimer's disease-like dementia.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, among other health organizations, has issued a series of recommendations for screening individuals with Down syndrome for particular diseases.

Read more about this topic:  Down Syndrome

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