Commitment + Clinical Leadership = Better Outcomes
World Down Syndrome Day
March 21st is recognized as World Down Syndrome Day. This day is meant to not only bring awareness to those with Down syndrome, but to advocate for the rights of those who have it.
The United Nations made World Down Syndrome Day a global awareness day starting in the year 2012. They chose March 21st as World Down Syndrome Day to signify the unique triplication of the 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome.2
Today, Saber Healthcare hopes to be a source of education and help spread awareness for this significant cause.
What is Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is a condition where an individual is born with an extra chromosome.1 Chromosomes are the makeup of genes, which determine a baby’s form and body functions as they grow.
Babies are typically born with 46 chromosomes. Babies born with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome, chromosome 21.
There are different physical features and capabilities of individuals with Down syndrome, but these characteristics can vary. Down syndrome causes developmental delays, both physically and mentally.3 Some of which include a lower IQ, slower speech development, smaller hands, shorter height, and more.
There are also different types of Down syndrome. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, these three types are classified by slightly different characteristics:
- Trisomy 21 (Nondisjunction) – this is the most common form of Down syndrome. Nondisjunction is an error in cell division, which causes an embryo to have three copies of chromosome 21 versus the usual two.
- Mosaicism – this is the least common form of Down syndrome. Mosaicism is a mixture of two kinds of cells, some containing the usual 46 chromosomes and some containing 47.
- Translocation – in this case, an additional copy of chromosome 21 attaches to another, usually chromosome 14.
There are therapy services available to help those with Down syndrome, including speech, occupational, and physical. Individuals with Down syndrome can live healthy and happy lives; however, access to these services early in life are extremely beneficial to their growth and development.
Although research shows that Down syndrome is the result of an extra chromosome, there is no exact answer as to how this occurs.
There are a few ideas that are considered risk factors, such as an older mother. If a woman thirty-five years or older becomes pregnant, there is a higher risk of the baby being born with Down syndrome.1
Another common cause of Down syndrome is family history.3 If someone in the family has Down syndrome, there is an increased likelihood that it runs in the family’s genetics.
However, even if a family does have risk factors present, it is not certain that a baby would be born with Down syndrome.
There are different tests that can show the risk or chance of a baby being born with Down syndrome, including screening tests and diagnostic tests.
A screening test for Down syndrome includes a blood test and an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, the technician would look for fluid behind the baby’s neck, which could signal a genetic problem.1 However, there is a good chance that screening tests can be abnormal when nothing is wrong with the baby, or vice versa.
There are a few different diagnostic tests that a doctor might order if something is questionable on the screening test, including:
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
- Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS)
All of these tests can help detect changes in the chromosomes, which could possibly indicate Down syndrome. The tests are more likely to be accurate when done further along in the pregnancy.
Once the baby is born, the doctor can conduct a physical examination of the baby, as well as a blood test to confirm Down syndrome.3
How You Can Help
There are many ways you can help make a difference in the lives of those with Down syndrome, not only today, but every day.
Here are some simple yet significant ideas to do your part.
The first step you can take is to get informed. Take the time to check out resources and learn more about Down syndrome. Share this knowledge with your family and friends. Be an advocate for those with Down syndrome.
There are numerous Down syndrome organizations that help and support people. Take the time to search and learn about these organizations, and donate if you feel driven and have the means to.
Some examples of Down syndrome organizations are:
- National Down Syndrome Society
- National Association for Down Syndrome
- Down Syndrome International
Lots of Socks Campaign
The #LotsOfSocks campaign is made to bring awareness to World Down Syndrome Day. The idea is to choose socks that will catch peoples’ eyes – whether they are a unique pattern, crazy, colorful, or mismatched.
If someone asks about your socks, you have the chance to say you’re wearing them to raise awareness about Down syndrome. This is where being informed comes in handy! Encourage your family, friends, classmates, and coworkers to join too.
Learn more about the campaign here.
Join events that are put together for individuals with Down syndrome. Whether you choose to visit, volunteer, or just spread the word about the event, you can help those with Down syndrome by supporting the activities and initiatives designed to help them.
You can also consider hosting an event in person or virtually, and ask a Down syndrome organization to help promote it or provide educational resources.
Different organizations, such as The World Down Syndrome Day and the National Down Syndrome Society hosts events, including virtual events. You have plenty of options to dive into!
Saber Healthcare Supports World Down Syndrome Day
Saber Healthcare is proud to support World Down Syndrome Day and everything it stands for. Take the time to learn more about Down syndrome today, and focus on what you can do to make a difference in your community.
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.
“Facts about Down Syndrome.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. December 28th, 2020. Accessed March 16th, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome.html.
“About WDSD.” Down Syndrome International, World Down Syndrome Day. Accessed March 15th, 2021. https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/about-wdsd.
Gill, Karen. “Down Syndrome.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. October 29th, 2019. Accessed March 16th, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/down-syndrome#:~:text=Down%20syndrome%20(sometimes%20called%20Down's,mental%20developmental%20delays%20and%20disabilities.
“What is Down Syndrome?” National Down Syndrome Society, ndss.org. Accessed March 17th, 2021. https://www.ndss.org/about-down-syndrome/down-syndrome/.