By JERRY WOLFFE
The life expectancy of those with Down Syndrome, the most common genetic condition, is increasing, according to a report in the Science Times.
One in every 691 babies born in the United States has Down Syndrome, according to the website of the National Down Syndrome Society.
The National Down Syndrome Society added that each year 6,000 babies are born with the condition in the United States and about 40,000 of Americans have Down Syndrome.
Down Syndrome includes the presence of an extra chromosome 21, and is characterized by mild to severe mental impairment, weak muscle tone, shorter height and a flattened facial profile.
According to the doctors and experts, children born with Down Syndrome suffer from a number of problems with their organs such as hearing loss and eye cataracts. However, most of them do not experience this kind of issue but do have cognitive delays from mild to moderate, and yet, children with this condition have well-developed social skills.
Different advancements are being made to help people with Down Syndrome and their families. Screening now happens during pregnancy, which enables the mothers to identify before birth if they will have a child with the syndrome.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released recommendations for doctors to help and provide the needs of children with this condition which led to a higher detection rate and is vital to their overall health.
The local media centers have created support centers for children and families with Down Syndrome.
Our society has also changed the way individuals with disabilities are treated overall. At the same time, medical technology has been advanced, which paved the way in making the life expectancy of those with Down Syndrome.
Thus, the life expectancy of those with Down Syndrome has significantly increased, ranging from the age of 25 to 60 as of today. This was due to early intervention that improves the condition of those children, says Debra Emerson, CEO of St. Madeleine Sophie's Center of El Cajon, California.
Jerry Wolffe is the writer in residence, advocate at large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at (586) 263-8950.