When it comes to mental abilities, it will also vary from people. However, people may face moderate issues with reasoning, thinking, and understanding, in most cases. Even though they will learn new skills and activities, it will take them more time to reach their goal when compared to normal people, especially when it comes to talking, walking, and developing social skills.


Normally, a human body will have 23 pairs of chromosomes, in which each chromosome of every pair will be from their mother and father respectively. However, as a result of the abnormal cell division in Down syndrome, people may get an extra pair of chromosome 21. That is three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two. Unfortunately, the reason for this abnormal cell division that results in an extra chromosome is not yet discovered. Nevertheless, it has nothing to do with the environmental factors or the activities of the parents. However, there are certain risk factors that can put you at a higher risk of delivering a baby with Down syndrome and it includes the following.

  • Women who are more than 35 years of age are more likely to deliver a baby with Down syndrome when compared to younger women.
  • If you already have a child with Down syndrome, the chances of delivering a second baby with the same health condition are higher.
  • In rare cases, the health condition can be passed down from a parent to the child, especially if one of the parents has ‘translocated’ genes.

Note that translocated genes refer to the placement of genes out of its actual place, mostly in another chromosome. In case you are wondering why the parents are not affected by Down syndrome, it is because of the right number of genes in their body. However, the child may get an extra chromosome in such a case and the condition is known as translocation Down syndrome. It is not necessary that translocation Down syndrome always happens as the result of translocated genes of the parent; it can occur by chance as well.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Nowadays, every woman is recommended to do a screening test and diagnostic tests to detect Down syndrome of the fetus at an early stage. In the former test, doctors will be able to analyze the likelihood of a mother delivering a baby with Down syndrome and the latter test is to confirm the same. If you delivered a baby with the health condition, a team of specialists will be there to provide medical care for the baby throughout his or her life. Mostly, the team will include a primary care pediatrician, pediatric cardiologist, Gastroenterologist, developmental pediatrician, endocrinologist, neurologist, ENT specialist, eye doctor, audiologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist. Apart from providing proper medical care, emotional support from the society is also an important factor that will help your child to cope up with the situation.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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