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Updated 10 October 2016

10 Down syndrome facts

How much do you really know about Down syndrome? Take three minutes and brush up your knowledge.

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How much do you really know about Down syndrome? Take three minutes and brush up your knowledge.

Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder arising at the time of conception.

  • There is an extra number 21 chromosome (Trisomy 21) which causes delays in physical and intellectual development.  
  • Children who have Down syndrome have broad and flat faces, flattened nose bridges and slanting eyes. They used to be called ‘mongoloid’ because of this Eastern appearance.
  • The incidence of Down syndrome is estimated to be one in every 1 000 live births in developed countries and one in every 650 live births in developing countries.
  •  More than 80% of children with Down Syndrome are currently being born to mothers under the age of 35.
  • Due to advanced medical care, the majority of people born with Down syndrome today have a life expectancy of approximately fifty-five years.
  • The majority of people with Down syndrome fall in the mild to moderate range of intellectual disability. 
  • Their average IQ is 50, as opposed to a 100 in children who are not mentally impaired. 
  • Some children are much more severely affected than others and some kids with Down syndrome manage to cope in normal schools. 
  • Several tests can be done on pregnant women to determine their risk of having a Down syndrome baby. A positive screening test can be followed up by an amniocentesis.

(Source: Down Syndrome South Africa)

(Health24, October 2012)

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