Down syndrome is a common genetic variation where an individual has a third copy of their 21st chromosome. This variation usually causes delay in physical, intellectual, and language development.
The exact causes of the chromosomal rearrangement and primary prevention of Down syndrome are currently unknown.
Down syndrome is one of the leading clinical causes of cognitive delay in the world – it is not related to race, nationality, religion, or socio-economic status.
There is wide variation in mental abilities, behavior, and physical development in individuals with Down syndrome. Each individual has his/her own unique personality, capabilities, and talents.
Individuals with Down syndrome benefit from loving homes, early intervention, inclusive education, appropriate medical care, and positive public attitudes. In adulthood, many persons with Down syndrome hold jobs, live independently, and enjoy recreational opportunities in their communities.
The incidence of Down syndrome in the United States is estimated to be 1 in every 700 live births. That means that of all children born in this country annually, approximately 5,000 will have Down syndrome.
There are approximately 250,000 families in the United States affected by Down syndrome.
While the likelihood of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome increases with maternal age; nevertheless, 80 percent of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age, as women in that age group give birth to more babies overall.
30–50 percent of the individuals with Down syndrome have heart defects and 8–12 percent have gastrointestinal tract abnormalities present at birth. Most of these defects are now correctable by surgery.