Down’s syndrome is a chromosomal irregularity. Cells in the human body usually have 46 chromosomes present. However, people with Down’s syndrome have 47 chromosomes in each cell.

Globally, one in every 800 to 1,000 babies is born with Down’s syndrome. There are no statistical records kept of numbers of children with Down’s syndrome in Dien Ban. In Vietnam, disability is often mis-diagnosed so exact statistics on various disabilities are impossible to find. However, we have seen a high prevalence amongst children we have screened. Currently 25% of children on our programmes have Down’s syndrome.

Down’s syndrome affects a baby’s normal physical development and causes moderate to severe learning difficulties. It is a lifelong condition that develops when a baby is still in the womb (uterus). Children who are born with Down’s syndrome also have a higher chance of developing other conditions, some of which are life-threatening. For example:

• congenital heart disease – a general term that describes a series of birth defects that affect the heart

• sight and hearing problems

• Alzheimer’s disease – a common form of dementia (a deterioration of mental abilities, such as memory and reasoning) that often affects people who are over 65 years of age

For more information, please visit our Down’s Syndrome FAQs.

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