is usually suspected after birth as a result of the baby's appearance.
There are many physical characteristics which form the basis for
suspecting an infant has Down syndrome. Many of these characteristics
are found, to some extent, in the general population of individuals
who do not have Down syndrome. Hence, if Down syndrome is suspected,
careful evaluation is required to confirm the diagnosis. Some
infants with Down syndrome have only a few of these traits, while
others have many. Among the most common traits are:
Muscle hypotonia, low muscle tone.
Flat facial profile,
a somewhat depressed nasal bridge and a small nose.
fissures, an upward slant to the eyes.
an abnormal shape of the ear.
A single deep crease
across the center of the palm.
an excessive ability to extend the joints.
phalanx of the fifth finger, fifth finger has one flexion furrow
instead of two.
small skin folds on the inner corner of the eyes.
between large and second toe.
Enlargement of tongue
in relationship to size of mouth.
As yet it
is not know what causes the presence of an extra chromosome 21.
It can come from either the mother or the father. There is no
way of predicting whether a person is more or less likely to make
and egg or sperm with 24 chromosomes.
is therefore usually caused by an error in cell division called
non-disjunction. However, two other types of chromosomal abnormalities,
mosaicism and translocation, are also implicated in Down syndrome
- although to a much lesser extent. Regardless of the type of
Down syndrome which a person may have, all people with Down syndrome
have an extra, critical portion of the number 21 chromosome present
in all, or some, of their cells. This additional genetic material
alters the course of development and causes the characteristics
associated with the syndrome.
There is no medical treatment for Down's Syndrome.
However specialized care and assistance is helpful is assisting