Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Risks & Complications

Risk Factors

As previously mentioned, the older a woman is, the higher her risk of having a child born with Down syndrome. However, most children with Down syndrome are actually born to mothers under 35 because younger women have far more babies.

But, by age 35, a woman's risk of conceiving a child with Down syndrome is 1 in 400 and by age 45, that risk increases to 1 in 35. Because of this incidence rate and the fact that many couples are postponing having children until later in life, the incidence of Down syndrome conceptions is expected to rise.

The following chart looks at a mother’s age at the time of conception and the odds of her giving birth to a child with Down syndrome:

Maternal Age

Incidence of Down Syndrome

Maternal Age

Incidence of Down Syndrome

20

1 in 2000

35

1 in 350

21

1 in 1700

36

1 in 300

22

1 in 1500

37

1 in 250

23

1 in 1400

38

1 in 200

24

1 in 1300

39

1 in 150

25

1 in 1200

40

1 in 100

26

1 in 1100

41

1 in 80

27

1 in 1050

42

1 in 70

28

1 in 1000

43

1 in 50

29

1 in 950

44

1 in 40

30

1 in 900 

45

1 in 30

31

1 in 800 

46

1 in 25

32

1 in 720

47

1 in 20

33

1 in 600

48

1 in 15

34

1 in 450

49

1 in 10

Other risk factors for conceiving a child with Down syndrome include:

  • Having one child with Down syndrome—A woman who has one child with Down syndrome has about a 1 percent chance of having another child with Down syndrome.
  • Being carriers of the genetic translocation for Down syndrome—Both men and women can pass on the genetic translocation for Down syndrome.


Complications

Children with Down syndrome can experience an array of complications, including:

  • Heart defects—Approximately 50 percent of children with Down syndrome are born with some type of heart defect.
  • Leukemia—Young children with Down syndrome are more likely to develop leukemia than other children.
  • Infectious diseases—Due to abnormalities in their immune systems, they are much more susceptible to infectious diseases, such as pneumonia.
  • Dementia—Later in life, people with Down syndrome have an increased risk of dementia. Signs and symptoms of dementia often appear before age 40.
  • Sleep apnea—Because of soft tissue and skeletal alterations that lead to the obstruction of their airways, children with Down syndrome are at greater risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Obesity—People with Down syndrome have a greater tendency to be obese.
  • Other problems—Down syndrome may also be associated with other health conditions, such as gastrointestinal blockage, thyroid problems, hearing loss, skeletal problems, and poor vision.


Life Expectancy

Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically. In 1929, a baby born with Down syndrome often didn't live to age 10. By 1983 that age jumped to 25 and today, someone with Down syndrome can live to 60 and beyond, depending on the severity of his or her health problems.

Life expectancy continues to increase because of early interventions and better care for people with Down syndrome.

Parent Category: Down Syndrome