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12 Facts About Down Syndrome

12 Facts About Down Syndrome

Oct. 24th, 2022

Down syndrome is a condition that occurs when there is an extra chromosome at birth, which are genes that determine how our body looks and grows. Usually, people are born with 46 chromosomes, but people with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes. The extra chromosome copy is trisomy 21.

Here are 12 Down syndrome facts to help you learn about those who are born with the condition.

Down Syndrome Occurs in 1 in 700 babies

Each year, over 6,000 babies in the United States are born with Down syndrome. That’s roughly 1 in 700 babies. It is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States.1

Trisomy 21 is the most common form of Down syndrome

Trisomy 21 is the most common form of Down syndrome and occurs in 1 out of every 691 births. In this type of Down syndrome, the body creates 3 copies of chromosome 21 instead of 2. As children with this type of Down syndrome grow, they can experience conditions such as congenital heart disease, hearing loss, and spine disorders.2

The Risk of Down Syndrome Increases with the Mother’s Age

Another fact about Down syndrome is women over 35 are more likely to birth a child with Down syndrome than those under 35. However, one thing to note is more children with Down syndrome are born to younger mothers because there are more children born to younger women.1

People with Down syndrome Have Certain Physical Traits

People with Down syndrome will have certain physical characteristics, such as eyes that slant upwards, a flattened face, short ears, and a tongue that pops out of the mouth. Some will have small hands and feet, and it is also common for people with Down syndrome to have a crease across the palm of their hands.3

People with Down syndrome Live Longer Today

In the 1960s, people with Down syndrome typically only lived to 10 years old. Today, the average life expectancy of someone with Down syndrome is 43 years old.4

50% of Down syndrome Babies Also Have Congenital Heart Disorder

50% of babies with Down syndrome will also be diagnosed with congenital heart disorder. Congenital heart defects impact the structure of the heart and how it works, such as bloodflow.4

There is No Cure for Down syndrome

Currently, there is no way to prevent a child from being born with Down syndrome. There are treatment programs that are designed to help support those with Down syndrome such as occupational, speech, and physical therapy.

Many Down syndrome Children Have Hypotonia

Hypotonia, or decreased muscle tone, is common among children with Down syndrome. Children with Down syndrome will learn to crawl, walk, and sit up at later stages than those without. Babies with Down syndrome will also grow at a slower pace.5

Down syndrome was discovered in 1866

Down syndrome was first described by John Langdon Down in 1866. Roughly 100 years later, Dr. Jerome Lejeune found the connection between Down syndrome and chromosome 21.6

It is Common for People with Down Syndrome to Wear Glasses

It is estimated that 40-90% of people with Down syndrome live with a refractive or accommodation error in their eyes. There are glasses designed specifically for people with Down syndrome to fit their physical features such as flattened noses and narrowed heads.7

People with Down syndrome are at Risk for Leukemia

Children who have Down syndrome are 10-30 times more likely to develop leukemia than those without. Around 10% of children are born with a pre-leukemia condition known as “transient leukemia,” and most cases will resolve themselves without any treatment.8

There are Support Groups for Those with Down syndrome

Many people with Down syndrome can live successful and happy lives because of the support of their family, friends, and community. Some support groups that work with people who have Down syndrome include the National Down Syndrome Society and National Down Syndrome Congress.

Support Those with Down syndrome Today

If you have a loved one with Down syndrome, we encourage you to work with them to strive to reach their full potential and better understand their condition. People with Down syndrome can live successful lives by having family and friends willing to listen and work with them through the challenges that they face.

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Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.


  1. “Facts About Down Syndrome.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 6 April 2021. Accessed 19 October 2022. Link:,1%20in%20every%20700%20babies.
  2. “Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome).” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 19 October 2022. Link:
  3. “Down syndrome.” MedlinePlus. 1 June 2020. Accessed 19 October 2022. Link:
  4. “Data and Statistics on Down Syndrome.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 23 October 2020. Accessed 19 October 2022. Link:
  5. Powell-Hamilton Nina. “Down Syndrome.” Neumours Children’s Health. February 2022. Accessed 19 October 2022. Link:
  6. Akhtar F, Bokhari SRA. Down Syndrome. [Updated 2022 Sep 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:
  7. “Eyeglass Challenges for Children With Down’s Syndrome.” Jobson Medical Information LLC. June 2014. Accessed 19 October 2022. Link:
  8. “The link between Down’s syndrome and leukaemia.” Leukaemia Care. Accessed 19 October 2022. Link: