Though infants born with trisomy 21, more commonly known as Down syndrome, may have the same physical and emotional needs as other babies, it cannot be denied that their condition entails specialized care aside from the usual. Down syndrome babies have mental and physical differences from normal infants. Being intellectually disabledâ€”even mildlyâ€”means theyâ€™ll need more assistance in terms of education and development. But what about their physical differences and deformities?
Inherent Health Risks Associated with Trisomy 21
Among the many effects of Down syndrome, the most noticeable at birth are the physical defects. Fortunately, these differences from normal children wonâ€™t prove to be cause for greater concern such as medical complications. There are inherent risks associated with trisomy 21 though, and itâ€™s best to know about them.
Some defects related to having trisomy 21 can give rise to serious health problems. Poor muscle tone is one such common defect. Having weak muscular structures, infants with Down syndrome will find it more difficult to learn and perform baby motor skills from rolling over, sitting, up, standing up, and so forth. This means theyâ€™ll develop these skills at a slower rate. Physical therapy can help alleviate poor muscle tone especially in early stages.
What causes Down syndrome and how it leads to such effects is a gap that is yet to be bridged. But what is known is that about half of infants born with trisomy 21 have weak hearts or heart problems. If your child is diagnosed with the disorder, itâ€™s best to have an ultrasound or similar exam of his or her heart structure to see if there are any heart issues you should be aware of.
Another health problem may have to do with the childâ€™s intestines. The intestinal track could have blockages or something similar. Surgery could easily deal with this, and the risk usually disappears after a surgical procedure.
Some Down syndrome babies may have cataracts, crossed eyes. Again, surgeryâ€”or lensesâ€”can fix these problems without complications.
Also, children with trisomy 21 are more prone to colds, sinus and ear infections. They are likewise more likely to develop hearing loss, thyroid problems, seizures, and bone and joint problems. Teething may also be a bit delayed.
Since trisomy 21 leaves its victims with low normal to severe or even high intellectual disability, children with the disorder will need more assistance in order to have similar learning curves as other children.
Quintessential Factor: Early Intervention
To avoid further complications of the above inherent risks, itâ€™s best to know what causes down syndrome andÂ have your child undergo early intervention programs that can help foster development of not just his motor, but also his language and social skills. Down syndrome babies will grow up pretty much the same way as normal children, and given the proper care and environment, they can live a normal life and even eventually have their own family.