font size

Definition of Down syndrome

Down syndrome: A common birth defect that is usually due to an extra chromosome 21 (trisomy 21). Down syndrome causes mental retardation, a characteristic facial appearance, and multiple malformations. It occurs most frequently in children born to mothers over age 35. It is associated with a major risk for heart problems, a lesser risk of duodenal atresia (partially undeveloped intestines), and a minor but significant risk of acute leukemia. Treatment for Down syndrome includes early intervention to develop the mental and physical capacities to their utmost, speech therapy, and surgery, as needed, to repair malformations. About one-half of children with Down syndrome have heart defects, most often holes between the two sides of the heart (septal defects). With appropriate intervention, most children with Down syndrome live active, productive lives into at least middle age. Most are mildly to moderately retarded, although some have IQs in the low'normal range. Unfortunately, most adults with Down syndrome eventually develop Alzheimer's disease as they grow older. Down syndrome was also once called mongolism, a term now considered out of date, as the disorder has no relationship to Mongolian or Asian heritage. It can occur in any racial or ethnic group.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=3112
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012

Drug Medical Dictionary of Terms by Letter

Top RxList Drug News

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations