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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Down syndrome


* Not a rare disease
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Other Names for this Disease
  • Down's syndrome
  • Trisomy 21
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What are the signs and symptoms of Down syndrome?

People with Down syndrome may develop the following medical problems:[1] 

Children with Down syndrome are also more likely to develop chronic respiratory infections, middle ear infections, and recurrent tonsillitis. In addition, there is a higher incidence of pneumonia in children with Down syndrome than in the general population.[1]

Children with Down syndrome have developmental delay. They are often slow to turn over, sit, and stand. Developmental delay may be related to the child's weak muscle tone. Development of speech and language may also take longer than expected. Children with Down syndrome may take longer than other children to reach their developmental milestones, but many of these milestones will eventually be met.[1]

Adults with Down syndrome have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer disease, a brain disorder that results in a gradual loss of memory, judgment, and ability to function. Although Alzheimer disease is usually a disorder that occurs in older adults, about half of adults with Down syndrome develop this condition by age 50.[2]

Last updated: 6/8/2012

  1. Down syndrome. Genetics Home Reference Web site. 2005; . Accessed 10/9/2007.
  2. Down syndrome. Genetics Home Reference. June 2008; Accessed 6/1/2010.