Types of Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is a congenital defect that leads to both physical and mental problems. This genetic disorder is a common disability, affecting 1 in every 700-800 babies per year. It occurs more frequently to babies born to older mothers. In fact, by age 45, a woman carries a 1 in 45 chance of giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome.

There are several different types of Down syndrome, which can all affect a person differently. First, the most common type of this condition, and the disorder that everyone associates with Down syndrome, is called trisomy 21. Normally, people only have 2 copies of genes at every locus, one for the maternal information and one carrying paternal information.

However, during the creation of egg or sperm cells, one may carry an extra set of genes for the 21st chromosome. Thus, when they combine, the baby will have trisomy 21, or three sets of chromosomes at that location. Because this happens so early in the formation of the baby, trisomy 21 will occur in every cell of the body.

A rarer form of Down syndrome is called mosaic. With this form, trisomy 21 arises at a later stage of infant development, which means that only some of the cells have the effects of Down syndrome. This may only affect part of the body.

Lastly, the least common form of this genetic disorder is called translocation. With this, normal genetic information from the 21st chromosome becomes attached to another chromosome. Thus, a child may have extra information from the 21st chromosome even though it is not at the normal location.

In many cases, Down syndrome can hinder a child’s learning and development, making it difficult for him or her to work as an adult. This is especially true with non-mosaic Down syndrome. If you suffer from this condition, you may be entitled to financial compensation to help you with your disorder.