Saturday 26 September, 2020

5 things you may not know about Down Syndrome

It is a global awareness day that was officially first observed by the United Nations in the year 2012.

Here are five things you may not know about the condition:


1. Down syndrome was first identified in 1866.

Down syndrome is named after English physician John Langdon Down, who was the first to point it out as a mental disorder.

The condition was initially referred to as "Mongoloid", due to the exhibition of features which resemble that of the Mongoloid region.

However, in 1965 WHO revised the term after scientists confirmed it is a congenital disorder.


2. Doctors still don’t know exactly what causes Down syndrome.

Down syndrome (DS) is a genetic condition where a person is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material changes the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.

Through a series of screenings and tests, Down syndrome can be detected before or after a baby is born. 


3. Older mothers may be more likely to have a child with Down syndrome.

The likelihood of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome increases with maternal age, however, 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age because this age group gives birth most frequently.


4. People with Down syndrome can live as long as other people.

When the condition was first discovered, the life expectancy of a patient suffering with Down Syndrome was 25 but with advancements in education and health care, people with Down syndrome can live up to 60 years old.


5. Just because people with Down syndrome have learning disabilities doesn’t mean they can’t live full lives.

Down syndrome leads to short, delayed development, learning disability and speech delay in children. However this is not indicative of the person’s other strengths and talents, and many people with Down syndrome go on to live fulfilling lives.


Do you know anyone with Down syndrome? Share your stories below. 

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: