Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

We love hearing from everyone!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

How will Down syndrome affect Nathan's health (Part II)

In Saturday's post I discussed how Nathan's health could've been affected by a heart defect, digestive malformations, and frequent respiratory infections. Today, I'll focus on some other common health concerns among persons with Ds - vision, hearing, thyroid, and cancer.

Nathan will probably experience some sort of vision problem within his lifetime. Approximately, 70% of children with Ds have a vision related concern that could include being cross eyed. It is also likely that Nathan will have some level of hearing loss - it may be a selective hearing problem but so far so good! I'll keep you posted on this one.

Nathan has had several hearing tests and is scheduled for a retest in November. Nathan has also visited the pediatric opthomologist and his vision was within the "normal range" for a child of Nathan's age.

Hypothyroidism is also a concern among those with Ds - Nathan was tested at birth and the results were fine. He was tested again this week and we're currently awaiting those results.

THE BIG ONE - the incidence of Leukemia is 15 to 20% higher for children with Ds. This literally keeps me up at night and we pray that God spares Nathan of this challenge. Please keep him in your prayers. I'm not sure of the exact test date but I think it's somewhere around 15 months old.

That's it for today! In Part III, we'll move away from the straight medical concerns and talk about dental concerns, developmental delays, and mental capacity. Stay tuned!

Babies With Down Syndrome: A New Parent's Guide


Lianna said...

I remember reading the New Parent's Guide when we first found out about Gabe having Ds. (I was 20 weeks pregnant.) I have to say I was so overwhelmed and deeply sad.

When Gabe was born, we learned shortly after his sixth week, that a) he would need heart surgery for VSD repair and b) he had grade 5 kidney reflux. For his first year we were in and out of the hospital and our focus was so intent on those two issues.

Of course, eventually, we had to accept other potential health issues because of Down syndrome -- eyesight, hearing, orthopedic problems and the impact of low muscle tone for fine and gross motor development.

All I can say now is that you DO what you have to do because although the diagnosis of Down syndrome and all the literature that goes with it can take away from the little person that is your child. Focusing on Gabe and one day at a time has been very beneficial for our family.

If I could give any advice to a new parent of a child with Down syndrome, I'd tell her to love her child. That love alone will supply the strength, courage and determination to get through any impending health issues.

When I was really in despair over Gabe's diagnosis, my sister helped me by saying that there were no guarantees that her own daughter, a typical child, would not face life altering illness. And that made me realize how fickle like can be, and how important it is to be in the moment.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

They will check Nathan's blood every year which will insure he does not have Leukemia and will also check his thyroid. Try not to stress over it too much, while the incidence is higher, it's still very unlikely!