The condition occurs when there is a chromosomal abnormality. Human cells have 46 chromosomes in them but the sperm and egg cells have half of these cells, that is, 23 chromosomes (Halliwell & Gutteridge, 2015). These 23 chromosomes contain 22 autosomes and 2 sex cells known as the X and Y chromosomes. During the conception, the sperm and egg cells come together to form a human cell with 46 chromosomes paired separately in the group of twos.
There are cases where the pairing fails to occur in a normal way and we end with a sperm or egg cell with 22 chromosomes instead of 23 while the other cell would have 24 chromosomes (Deakin, 2014). A combination between the cell with 24 chromosomes with another one which has 23 chromosomes would lead to the formation of a human cell with 47 chromosomes instead of 46.This extra chromosome would lead to an imbalance in an individual which would manifest itself in form of physical and intellectual characteristics.
The babies who are born with this condition are likely to have more health problems than others (Deakin, 2014). They may have slow development and may talk or walk later than their age mates. They may also develop stomach problems that would lead to the digestion and elimination problems. These children would also develop, leukemia, infections of lungs, eyes and years which could last for a long time.
Physical abnormalities may include upward slanting eyes, flatter face, larger than usual tongue and their mouth may also turn downward (Deakin, 2014). They might have larger spaces between their second toe and the big toe among other abnormalities. The cognitive abilities of the people with these conditions could be different from the normal people as well as some instances of heart defects.
The intellectual disability is common and affects almost half of the children who are born with Down syndrome. The children are able to attend normal public schools but their academic performance is usually down. Their playful personality gives them a hard time concentrating on academics.
The life of Down syndrome patients
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Down syndrome hence the individuals have to live with the condition their entire lives. The condition affects people of all races but it is never contagious (Deakin, 2014). People who are born without the condition would not get it later in their lives as it occurs in the initial stages of life. The condition cannot be blamed on the parents as it does not depend on what they parents did before the child was conceived.
Any couple can give birth to a child with the Down syndrome condition but it is more common among older mothers (Deakin, 2014).The children with Down syndrome are known to be happy, playful and loving which makes enable them to get along well with others(Buitenkamp, et al., 2014). People around these children should always remember that people with Down syndrome also have feelings just like others.
In the past, people with this condition would not live to reach full adulthood. The heart problems and the various conditions could not be treated easily as they are done today. The innovations in medications and surgery have enabled the doctors to correct the intestinal, stomach and heart problems (Deakin, 2014). Children born with Down syndrome could now expect to live their lives to 50 years and above. More investments have been directed towards research work to find ways of preventing or improving the quality of lives of the people who are suffering from the condition.
Buitenkamp, T. D., Izraeli, S., Zimmermann, M., Forestier, E., Heerema, N. A., van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M. M., … & Liang, D. C. (2014). Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children with Down syndrome: a retrospective analysis from the Ponte di Legno study group. Blood, 123(1), 70-77.
Deakin, K. A. (2014). Perceptions of Down Syndrome: A growing awareness? Investigating the views of children and young people with Down Syndrome, their non-disabled peers, and mothers (Doctoral dissertation, University of Glasgow).
Halliwell, B., & Gutteridge, J. M. (2015). Free radicals in biology and medicine. Oxford University Press, USA.