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Down's syndrome - medical information

  • Down’s syndrome is a life-long genetic disorder which affects a baby's normal physical development and causes mild to severe learning difficulties.
  • Children who are born with Down’s syndrome also have a significantly increased risk of having other health complications such as congenital heart, sight, and hearing problems and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Down’s syndrome is not particularly common in the UK - about 1 in every 1,000 live births is affected.
  • It is not clear what causes Down’s syndrome but it seems the single biggest risk factor is the age at which a woman gives birth; the greatest risk (1 in 30) is associated with women who are 45 years of age or over.

Down's syndrome is also known as Down syndrome or trisomy 21.