Before I begin, let me be clear - children with Down syndrome can be as healthy as any child without Down syndrome. What sets them apart is their higher than normal incidence rates for certain medical problems. On a side note - considering the amount of information I’d like to share I’ve decided to break this into three digestible sections.
When Nathan was born and the postnatal diagnosis of Ds was confirmed the immediate medical concern was Nathan’s heart. Forty to 50% of children born with Ds have a heart defect that requires corrective surgery. The second immediate concern was Nathan’s digestive system - 10 to 20% of children with Ds are born with gastrointestinal malformations. Now, reflecting on this time in the hospital, I remember not knowing this information until after the tests were complete. When the neonatal doctor gave us these statistics he also gave us Nathan’s clean bill of health! Thank God.
Children born with Ds have also have a higher than normal risk of respiratory infections including sleep apnea, which is the temporary interruption of breathing. When Nathan was about 6 months old we brought him to the Ear Nose and Throat Specialist – Nathan was having some breathing issues that we felt warranted a visit for the check-up. After some invasive tubes down his throat we learned everything was just fine – Nathan would grow out of his issues. We return in one year for a follow-up.
Children with Ds also have an increased risk for respiratory infections. Nathan’s first cold was at eight months of age. Let’s pray he continues down this healthy non-cold road!
Tomorrow we’ll discuss vision, hearing, hypothyroidism, and Leukemia.
Babies With Down Syndrome: A New Parent's Guide