Dr. Khalid AlDajam, General pediatric consultant at King Fahad Medical City confirmed that there are more than 20 thousand children affected with Down syndrome in KSA below 17 years old , according to the latest statistics in this field. The same statistics indicate one case of Down syndrome in every 800 birth globally.
This statement was announced during the event of "Down Syndrome Awareness Day" organized by King Fahad Medical City in the main hospital lobby. Dr. AlDajam said "Down syndrome is a congenital disorder caused by the presence of an additional chromosome in the body cells. It considered as a phenomena that result from a defect in the chromosomes or genes and it causes varying degrees of mental and physical disability. As there is a genetic disorder in chromosome 21 and it became 47 chromosomes instead of 46".
Dr. AlDajam added " The causes of the disease are clear; as they are genetic, however there are some factors that may increase the incidence of the syndrome, including pregnancy at late ages. Accordingly, the incidence rate of the syndrome increases into one in every 800 pregnancy at the age of 30 years old while it increases to one in every 40 pregnancy in mothers who have reached the age of 44 years. ".
About the symptoms of the disease, Dr. AlDajam stated that "The most common symptoms of Down Syndrome are weak muscles, small head size, short stature, tiny facial features, upward slanting eyes, small and flat nose, a single crease across the palm of the hand , flat head from the back, huge tongue size. Furthermore, above 50% of those affected by the disease are vulnerable to congenital heart defects, and with varying degrees. There are also accompanying defects such as hearing, stomach, and cervical spine defects. However, children with Down syndrome are characterized significantly among others with their tenderness and emotional feelings, and they have a beautiful spirit and great sense feelings".
"Down syndrome children should by seen every 6 months at least, as they are exposed to anemia and hypothyroidism, as well as conducting hearing test in the first year together with the examination of the eyes, heart, kidney, and gastroenterology and performing physical therapy. After the age of 3 years old, they need to be followed by the Dental Department and conducting a neck vertebrae image " Dr. Khalid reported.