Although Down syndrome is not an illness rather a genetic condition, there are various medical conditions that you need to look for and therefore the need for you to engage with Paediatrician, cardiologist ENT, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech. Therapists.
How can DS be diagnosed.
- Prenatally – This is screening and diagnostic tests that estimate the chance of the fetus having Down syndrome. This prenatal screening is not yet available here in Kenya.
- At birth – Down syndrome is usually identified at birth by presence of certain physical traits.
- Facial profile seems slightly flattened
- A slightly open mouth and protruding tongue
- Slanted eyes with an epicanthic fold(tiny folds covering the inner corners of the eye)
- The bridge of the nose may appear flat
- A single crease on the palm of the hand
- Small ears
- Stubby fingers and slightly rounded head.
What We(doctors) have to say: (various doctors in Kenya and their research i.e a therapist, cardio, ent specialist,)
Nutrition / Feeding.
Down syndrome is a complex condition that can leave those affected more prone to a number of major medical concerns. Infants and children with Down Syndrome can have feeding and drinking difficulties. A smaller oral cavity and low muscle tone in the facial muscles can be contributing factors. In addition, the tongue may appear larger due to a high arched palate, a smaller oral cavity and reduced muscle tone in the tongue. Teeth tend to appear at a later stage.
Many children are mouth breathers due to smaller nasal passages, and may have difficulties coordinating sucking, swallowing and breathing whilst feeding. All of these factors can impact on how a child develops efficient oral and feeding skills.
Some infants with Down Syndrome may require the support of a Paediatric Dietician for feeding difficulties, poor weight gain, weaning advice, and oral sensitivity.
Majority of children with PDA generally do not gain weight but show improvement with surgical correction. Some babies may have swallowing problems or constipation but may benefit greatly from use of a feeding tube. Most import thing to do is communicating with the cardiologist and mention this feeding and weight gain concerns. A nutritionist may as well be of great help to design a favourable feeding schedule for the child.
Weight management for Adults with Ds.
Excessive weight gain is a problem for many older children and adults with Down syndrome. Sometimes it is as a result of untreated hypothyroidism. Symptoms being, increased sleepiness, confusion or mood changes.A blood test can be done to check thryroid function. Weight can be managed through:
- Monitor the food intake of your adult.
- Emphasize on healthy ingridients with less carolies. (Fruit, vegetables, fiber).
- Taking in a lot of water.
- Introducing daily excersice routine that is based on his/her interest.
History of DS.
Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a genetic condition which is the commonest identifiable cause of intellectual disability. It occurs equally in all races.
Down syndrome is name after a British Physician, John Langdon Down, in 1866. He first described it as Mongolism. In1965, the World Health Organisation accepted the name Down syndrome in honor of John Langdon Down in honor of his work for people with Down syndrome.