In this special episode dedicated to World Down Syndrome Day, Dr. Rekha Rajendra Kumar speaks with RJ Padma Priya about the significance of March 21st.
The first World Down Syndrome Day was observed in 2006, with March (the third month) and the date 21 representing the trisomy (triplication) of the 21st chromosome which leads to the development of the condition in a human body.
It was French physician, Jérôme Lejeune who had first identified Down Syndrome as a chromosomal condition. Usually, 46 chromosomes are present in each cell, but in persons with Down Syndrome, 47 chromosomes are seen in the cells. This makes this condition a genetic disorder. Chances of babies being born with the condition are reported to rise dramatically if the pregnant person is above a certain age, with it becoming progressively riskier after the age of 30.
The child following the birth of the one with the condition also faces a greater risk of being born with Down Syndrome as well.
A baby or person with Down Syndrom embodies certain identifiable physical traits, including the shape of the face and the nose, position of the teeth, shortness of the fingers, and skin folds near the neck.
Health problems that are reported to be common among persons with the condition include heart problems, sugar level imbalance, thyroid, muteness, Alzheimer’s, and low vision. The condition also can lead to developmental delays and restrictions. The children will be more susceptible to infections, and their decision-making abilities may be limited. Mental health issues also can become concerns here.
A much greater understanding of the condition has meant better medical support and a longer life expectancy of 50 to 55 years. Detecting the condition during pregnancy has also improved and become more reliable in the past few years.
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