Down syndrome Awareness Month is held in October each year. It’s a time to learn about Down syndrome, spread awareness and celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of people living with the condition.
While Down syndrome is a condition from birth, what happens after birth is far more important in shaping the future for anyone with Down syndrome.
What is Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic condition where a person has extra DNA material. Most people have 46 chromosomes in each of their cells, people with Down syndrome have 47.
Did you know?
Down syndrome occurs in 1 of every 700 to 900 births worldwide.
What does Down syndrome look like?
Every person with Down syndrome is unique, as are the ways the condition is expressed both mentally and physically.
Issues with immune, heart and digestive function, weight control, bone density and speech are all common amongst people with Down syndrome. Intellectual disabilities are also common.
Facial features such as a flattened face and almond-shaped, upward-slanted eyes are two common physical features of Down syndrome. Others can include being small in stature, having small hands and feet and a short neck.
Are there different types of Down syndrome?
There are three Types of Down syndrome – Trisomy 21, Translocation and Mosaicism.
Trisomy 21 Down syndrome is the most common form of Down syndrome and accounts for around 95% of all cases. It’s caused by an error in the separation and replication of the 21st chromosome called “nondisjunction”.
Translocation Down syndrome occurs in around 3 to 4% of the population when an extra full or partial copy of the 21st chromosome is present, attached to one of the other 23 chromosome pairs.
Mosaic Down syndrome accounts for 1-2% of Down syndrome cases and is caused when some, but not all, of the cells has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. It’s generally thought that people with this type of Down syndrome have fewer symptoms than people with the other two types.
Where can I get more information about Down syndrome?
Down Syndrome Australia is a great resource for information on Down syndrome and events supporting the awareness for the condition.