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In this section of our website you will find up-to-date information on health care issues related to Down syndrome. We trust you will find this information useful. We encourage you to contact us for questions or suggestions at (518) 438-1113 or e-mail at info@dsahrc.org.

Our services at the Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center are devoted to helping individuals with Down syndrome get access to appropriate health care, from birth to adulthood, so that they can reach their fullest potential.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 10:36

Medical Issues and Down Syndrome

Written by  Dr. Anthony Malone

If you take extra care and consideration, your baby has a very good chance of having a healthy childhood.  You will find that there are risks for extra health concerns but that does not necessarily mean that your child will have any of these problems.  While there is a fairly long list of possible health concerns, most of these are unlikely to occur and actually are fairly uncommon.  Monitoring for these health issues will help to find these problems early if they exist--and early care can go a long way toward minimizing the problem.  Good child health care is important for your child and needs to start with the basics.  The regular well-child visits to your provider offers lots of opportunities to investigate problems, to consider upcoming issues, and to practice prevention.  Here are some of the issues that you will want to emphasize.

Nutrition and Growth
Good health has its basis in good nutrition.  Children with Down syndrome have a higher rate of nutritional and intestinal problems and may have trouble gaining weight.  Basic height and weight measurements over the first year will be an excellent way of keeping track of this issue.

Immunizations
Immunizations are designed to prevent serious childhood disease.  They have been even more effective in prevention of serious infections such as blood infections, pneumonia and meningitis in children with Down syndrome.  Influenza vaccine should be an important consideration.

Vision and Hearing
Evaluation of vision and eye health should be done by an opthalmologist in the first year.  Your baby will have a hearing evaluation at birth and should have an additional evaluation at about a year of age.

Safety and Accident Prevention
One of the biggest health issues in young children remains accidental injury.  Car seats, back sleeping, and care of falls are all important areas to practice safety.

Care of Infectious Disease
Children with Down syndrome are more prone to infections, especially upper respiratory, ear and lung infections.  Things that can help prevent infections include good hand washing, no exposure to cigarette smoke, and use of vaccines.  If recurrent infections are a problem, options for treatment can be handled by your provider.

Monitoring of special problems with Down syndrome
Some special issues that can occur in infancy include intestinal obstruction (usually found at birth), heart issues, hearing problems, thyroid concerns and respiratory issues, and will need special consideration. 

 


Dr. Anthony Malone, Clinical Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics, Albany Medical College, Developmental Pediatrics