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Doctor insights on: How Long Do People With Down Syndrome Live

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How long do Down syndrome children live?

How long do Down syndrome children live?

Variable: They do die relatively young in the 20s and 30s but they thrive on love just the same as normal kids and their death is unpredictable. ...Read more

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Dr. Kathryn Akin
641 doctors shared insights

Down Syndrome (Definition)

Down syndrome is the classic presentation clinically of the congenital malformation syndrome also known as Trisomy 21. Classic features may include simian creases, epicanthal folds, upslanting palpebral fissures, flat nasal bridge, hypertelorism, low set ears, endocardial cushion defects of the heart, atlanto-axial joint instability, blood ...Read more


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I have a cousin who is down syndrome. Is it true that they die at an early age? And that they don't live longer than 20 years?

No: Although some ds kids have life threatening conditions at birth these are usually recognized & fixed as they would for any other newborn. In life they have many challenges but generally live out a long life if these issues are managed. Expected lifespan of a newborn with ds today exceeds 60 yrs. ...Read more

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How long does a Down syndrome person usually live? Is that a problem since parents are usually old?

How long does a Down syndrome person usually live? Is that a problem since parents are usually old?

6 decades +: Years ago the expected lifespan for ds kids was short, due to a combination of heart defects, increased vulnerability to infection & lack of aggressive management. Today the projected lifespan exceeds 6 decades.Ds is a prime example of the need for survivor assistance planning. Various ds support groups, the "arc", social workers all help families integrate public & private support. ...Read more

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How long can an infant with Down syndrome & eisenmenger live? The vsd is still very open. Are there effective treatments?

How long can an infant with Down syndrome & eisenmenger live? The vsd is still very open. Are there effective treatments?

Depends: Trisomy 21 with a vsd and eisenmenger's has, unfortunately, a poor prognosis. The length of survival is variable and depends on the severity of the pulmonary hypertension as well as any other conditions. Treatments depend on those factors as well. Please discuss your child's specific prognosis with your cardiologist. ...Read more

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How were people with Down syndrome treated in the 1940s?

Institutionalized: A common approach to ds patients in the 40's was to reccomend institutionalization.Up to 1/3 had a potentially lethal heart defects that could not be fully assessed or fixed at the time & many other issues that seemed futile. Families were encourages to house them in specialized centers where they would be given basic care for what was expected to be a short life of 2-30 yrs. ...Read more

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What medical options are available for people with Down syndrome?

What medical options are available for people with Down syndrome?

Guidelines exist for: health care maintenance for infants, children & adults with DS. No medications enhance cognitive or motor functioning in DS. See quackwatch.com before using anything touted to do so. Some people opt for a wedge resection of the tongue to normalize appearance. High maternal educational level, parental insistence on adaptive behaviors & Early Intervention services are factors that improve outcomes ...Read more

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Do people with Down syndrome always have the physical characteristics?

Always is a big word: I have encountered some with very mild features & one that had the features of a dwarf & none recognizable as DS.Since every cell of their body has the same extra chromosome, certain organs/areas tend to have the same problems. Their facial features/hands/feet are similar.Their heart often has a defect,but not always the same one. They share similarities but there is variation within this group. ...Read more

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What are the causes of people with Down syndrome to live fifty years or less?

Poor health: The expected lifespan of a ds patient born today exceeds 60 years if they have access to the basic medical care & dietary resources of average individuals. They do have higher risks for a variety of health issues involving their glands (thyroid, diabetes) their bones (scoliosis, joint pain & weakness) and the impact of obesity is much worse for their overall health. ...Read more

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Could you tell me what happens to people with Down syndrome when they get old?

Depends on variables: They have an expected lifespan in excess of 60 yrs. Over their life they have a higher frequency of hypothyroidism, diabetes, scoliosis, foot problems and a variety of other issues. Some can be very limited with their communication skills and some less so.Women can have children, men not. Mental limitations are always present.Lack of medical treatment for any issue can shorten lifespan. ...Read more

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