The World Down Syndrome Day is a day set aside every March 21 to celebrate people living with Down Syndrome, educate the world on what Down Syndrome is all about, and how individuals with Down Syndrome need to be valued in their societies.

Many times, we get to see some persons living with low Down Syndrome, thoughts arise, such as “What exactly causes Down Syndrome?”

The World Down Syndrome Day 2024 theme: “End the stereotype”, aim at addressing the stigmatization people living with Down Syndrome are confronted with.

People living with Down Syndrome have been stereotyped and conditioned under certain stigmatization due to the way they look and behave.

Many people have also been stereotyped to be weak, treated poorly as if they are not human, underestimated or excluded. Sometimes they are badly treated or even abused.

Down Syndrome occurs as a result of a genetic Chromosome (21) disorder that causes developmental and intellectual delays. The genetic disorder is caused when abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material from chromosome 21.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC), explains Down Syndrome as a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome; small “packages” of genes in the body.

Typically, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. However, babies with Down Syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes (chromosome 21) which in medical term is referred to as “trisomy”. This can cause both mental and physical challenges for the baby.

According to the United Nations, an estimated incidence of Down Syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. Each year, approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this chromosome disorder.

The National Library of Medicine revealed that about 1 in 865 live births in Nigeria have cases of Down Syndrome after conducting a nine year survey.

Related News

Researchers say that Down Syndrome is by far the most common and known chromosomal disorder in humans and the most common cause of intellectual disability.

The extra Chromosome 21, affects almost every organ system and results in a wide spectrum of phenotypic consequences.

One noticeably trait among people with Down Syndrome is the similarities in physical features and behaviours.

Although Down Syndrome has no cure, as it is mostly gotten from the moment of conception / pregnancy, and passed on to the child as he / she is born. This condition can be managed for years or lifelong with constant medical diagnosis. This treatment can help patients thrive physically and mentally.

Features of Down Syndrome include flattened face especially at the nose bridge, slanted/upturned eyes, short necks, small ears, tongues that tends to stick out of the mouth, tiny white spots on the iris, small hands and feet, single line across the palm of the hand, poor muscles or loose joints, short in height both as children and adults.

Medical experts and researchers have revealed another factor that increases the risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome is the mother’s age.

Women who are 35 years old and above stand high chances of having babies with Down Syndrome. However, statistics also show that women younger than 35 also have children with Down Syndrome.

Sadly, Down Syndrome comes along with different health challenges such as hearing loss, obstructive sleep apnea (occurs when a person’s breathing temporarily stops while asleep), ear infections, eye diseases, heart defects (present at birth).

As the global community celebrates Down Syndrome, awareness continues to inform the general public on refraining from discriminating against people with Down Syndrome, rather allowing them make their decisions, providing opportunities for them, allowing self-pacing and giving them the support and motivation that they need.