Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. This extra genetic material causes the developmental changes and physical features of Down syndrome. Don syndrome in each individual is unique hence, intellectual and developmental problems may be mild, moderate or severe. Some people are healthy while others may have health issues such as serious heart defects. There are no known behavioral or environmental factors that cause Down syndrome and most of the time, Down syndrome isn't inherited. It's caused by a mistake in cell division during the early development of the fetus.
For people with Down syndrome, getting routine medical care and treating issues when needed can help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Today, someone with Down syndrome can expect to live more than 60 years, depending on the severity of health problems. There's no way to prevent Down syndrome. If a woman is at high risk of having a child with Down syndrome or one already has one child with Down syndrome, consulting a genetic counselor before conceiving would be a good idea. A genetic counselor helps in understanding the chances of having a child with Down syndrome. He or she can also explain the prenatal tests that are available and help explain the pros and cons of testing.
Better understanding of Down syndrome and early interventions can greatly increase the quality of life for children and adults with this disorder and help them live fulfilling lives.