Did you know that Down syndrome is the most common genetic disorder children are born with today? Also, according to the Down syndrome statistics, the only certain factor in getting this condition is the mother’s age.
Not that long ago, people with Downs used to be institutionalized and were undesirable in society. There have been many myths and misconceptions surrounding this condition. However, it’s time to raise Down syndrome awareness and present an objective view of Down syndrome, and the people diagnosed with it.
But, first, let’s see some of the most intriguing facts and figures regarding this condition:
Top 10 Facts and Statistics on Down Syndrome
- Approximately 95% of people who have Down syndrome have the “trisomy 21” type.
- Over 30% of people with Down syndrome who are older than 50 will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
- Only 1% of Down syndrome cases are inherited.
- Approximately 80% of babies born with nondisjunction and trisomy have mothers younger than 35.
- Parents of children with Down syndrome and a major birth defect will spend 4 times more on hospital costs during their first year.
- Today there are over 400,000 people with Down syndrome in the United States, according to the Down syndrome statistics from 2017.
- Almost 100% of the women in Iceland terminate their pregnancy if prenatal screening shows positive results for Down syndrome.
- Non-invasive prenatal testing has 99% accuracy when it comes to discovering Down syndrome.
- CBD oil for treating children with various disorders can cost more than $500 a month.
- Only 3 mg of THC per kilogram for 4 weeks can lead to the preservation of neurons of people with Down syndrome.
If you want to learn more about the causes of Down syndrome, trisomy 21, how people with this condition live, what affects their everyday lives, and how they can use CBD for Down syndrome, keep reading.
Overall Down Syndrome Facts and Statistics
1. Down syndrome is not an illness, it’s a genetic condition.
(Medical News Today)
As a genetic condition, it can cause various health issues like hearing issues, respiratory problems, epilepsy, thyroid problems, childhood leukemia, and Alzheimer’s disease. People who have Down syndrome often have cognitive-developmental difficulties as well.
They also share some distinct physical features like upward slanted eyes, flat nose, short neck and height, protruding tongue, low muscle tone, and many others.
2. What causes Down syndrome? An extra chromosome.
The typical human cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes, which means that there is a total of 46 chromosomes. All of these chromosomes determine people’s physical characteristics like their sex or hair color. People who are born with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome — a total or a partial copy of chromosome 21.
3. Approximately 95% of people who have Down syndrome have the “trisomy 21” type.
Nondisjunction, or trisomy 21, is the most common type of Down syndrome, as the Down syndrome frequency data shows. It happens when there are three chromosomes 21, instead of the usual two. So, instead of 46, people with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes.
4. Up to 4% of people with Downs have the translocation type.
This is the second type of Down syndrome. It occurs when there are three chromosomes 21, just like with trisomy, but one of the chromosomes 21 is attached to another chromosome. Usually, it’s attached to chromosome 14, but two chromosomes 21 can also be attached.
5. Mosaic Down syndrome facts show that only 1% of people born with Downs have this type of Downs.
This is the least common type of Down syndrome. Mosaicism happens after the fertilization of the egg when the nondisjunction of chromosome 21 happens in only one cell after the division. This way, there is a mixture of cells with different numbers of chromosomes. Some of them have the usual 46 chromosomes, and some have 47.
6. The incidence of Down syndrome shows that a 35-year-old woman has a 1 in 350 chance of giving birth to a baby with Downs.
Down syndrome can affect people of all races and social statuses, but the greatest risk factor is the age of the mother. By the time they’re 40, women have a 1 in 100 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome, and that incidence rises to 1 in 30, by the time they’re 45.
Down Syndrome Statistics Worldwide
7. In 2012, Kazakhstan had 722 babies born with Down syndrome for every 100,000 live births.
This was the highest rate of babies with Downs per 100,000 live births for 2012. Right behind Kazakhstan was Turkey, with 505 babies, and San Marino with 342 babies. In addition, Hungary had 235 babies with this condition, Norway 229, and Belgium 202.
Austria was the country with the lowest number of babies with Downs per 100,000 live births, with only 8 babies, as the Down syndrome statistics by country clearly show.
8. The prevalence of this syndrome around the world is 1 in 1,000.
Sometimes it varies to 1 in 1,100 live births globally. What’s more, every year there are between 3,000 and 5,000 babies born with this condition. This affects thousands of families who care for them since they need regular medical check-ups, mental and physical monitoring, and various therapies to lead a quality life.
9. Only 1% of Down syndrome cases are inherited.
Stats on Down syndrome show that even though all three types of Down syndrome are genetic disorders, nondisjunction and mosaicism don’t have the hereditary component. Only one-third of translocation Down syndrome cases have the hereditary component, resulting in a small percentage of overall cases where this condition is actually inherited.
10. Approximately 80% of babies born with nondisjunction and trisomy have mothers younger than 35.
Even though women older than 35 are at greater risk of conceiving a child with Down syndrome, they are also less likely to have a baby. In contrast, as the Down syndrome statistics by age report, younger women tend to have more babies, so the majority of children with Downs are born to younger mothers.
11. Parents of children with Down syndrome and a major birth defect will spend 4 times more on hospital costs during their first year.
In addition, children will probably stay in the hospital three times longer in their first year, compared to their peers. When it comes to serious congenital heart defect(CHD), the costs are 11 times higher, and 5 times more days are spent hospitalized.
12. Down syndrome statistics by race report that all races have an equal probability of having Down syndrome.
People of all races can have a child with this condition; no race is more or less prone to DS. However, African-American babies with Down syndrome in the US are less likely to survive past their first year, when compared to their white baby counterparts.
13. Parents who already have a child with Down syndrome have up to 15% more chance of having yet another child with a genetic disorder.
Down syndrome risk by ethnicity is also a factor. In the US, various demographic factors can influence whether the child will have this genetic disorder or not. These include marital status, Hispanic ethnicity, geographic region, education of the mother, and more.
14. It’s estimated that there are over 6 million people in the world with Down syndrome.
(Global Down Syndrome Foundation)
It’s difficult to estimate the exact number since data is based mostly on assumptions — the overall number of the population is divided by the number of the latest live births, which can’t provide us with precise estimates.
Down Syndrome Statistics for the USA
15. There are more than 6,000 children with Down syndrome born every year in the US.
That means that 1 in every 700 babies in the States has this genetic condition. This also implies that approximately 250,000 American families are affected by Down syndrome since children with DS need parental support, care, and guidance throughout their whole lives.
16. Today there are over 400,000 people with Down syndrome in the US, according to the Down syndrome statistics from 2017.
Even though people with this condition share some common physical and mental features, they are still individuals and are more similar to their families than other people with Down syndrome.
17. Over 30% of people with Down syndrome who are older than 50 will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) estimates that by the time these people are 60, the percentage number will rise to 50%. The risk grows with every decade of their lives, but it never gets to 100%.
18. As the Down syndrome statistics report, approximately 10% of children with Down syndrome in the US also have autism.
The same research has shown that 5% to 7% of children with DS in the UK and Sweden possess autistic spectrum disorders. The reason for low percentage may lie in wrong diagnosis. Children with this syndrome have social strengths which could disguise autism symptoms.
19. Close to 44% of children with Down syndrome have ADHD.
A study has found that the rate of Down syndrome affected children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is extremely high. It’s observed that children with Down syndrome often show impulsivity, have problems with attention, and are hyperactive.
20. Epilepsy occurs in 1.4-17% of cases of Down syndrome, according to one study.
It is hard for scientists to determine how often epilepsy affects children with Downs. Certainly, seizures and spasms are more frequent in young children with Down syndrome than in the general population.
A British study on adults with Down showed that the risk of epileptic seizures increases with age.
Pregnancy Down Syndrome Statistics
21. Early tests between the 10th and 12th week of pregnancy can spot Down syndrome.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is done between the 10th and 12th week. No matter the age of the mother, every pregnant woman should be offered prenatal genetic screening. Early results are one of the main reasons why Down syndrome rates decreased in some countries as some women make a decision to end the pregnancy.
22. Non-invasive prenatal testing has 99% accuracy when it comes to discovering Down syndrome.
(Pregnancy Birth & Baby)
Some Down syndrome facts show that this is one of the most accurate screening tests. It’s done after the 10th week of pregnancy, and it analyzes the baby’s DNA from the mother’s blood system.
Nevertheless, depending on the country or state, it should be checked whether this test is covered by medical insurance.
23. Approximately 67% of fetuses in the US who are prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.
(New York Times)
Down syndrome abortion statistics report that this number could be even higher for Canada, but there are no reliable studies that to prove that.
On the other hand, llaws in several US states prohibit doctors from performing abortions if the screening results are positive for Down syndrome.
24. It’s estimated that 54% of women who are pregnant with a baby with Down syndrome lose their child by the term.
What is more, the same study has found that Down syndrome miscarriage rate between the 10th and 16th week of the pregnancy is 32%. The study observed women who were older than 35 and carrying children with Down syndrome.
25. Almost 100% of the women in Iceland terminate their pregnancy if prenatal screening shows positive results for Down syndrome.
The Iceland law allows pregnancy termination after the 16th week if prenatal tests show positive results for genetic abnormalities. Due to this, only one or two babies with Down syndrome are born every year in Iceland, as the Iceland Down syndrome statistics report.
With a population of about 330,000, Iceland has almost eliminated Down syndrome.
Denmark also has high rates of Down syndrome pregnancy termination −98%; France follows suit with 77%.
Adults with Down Syndrome Facts
26. Close to 99% of adults with Down syndrome state they live a happy life.
One study about self-perception of people with Down syndrome interviewed 284 people with this syndrome and revealed that 97% of them like who they are, 86% think they can make friends easily, 99% love their families, and 96% liked the way they look.
27. 60 years is the average Down syndrome life expectancy.
It is very challenging to live up to 60 due to all the serious medical conditions following the disorder. For example, about 40% of the children with Down are born with congenital heart defects. They are usually more prone to various infections, respiratory, hearing, and vision problems.
28. If one parent has Down syndrome, the child has 35% to 50% chance to have the syndrome as well.
(Down’s Syndrome Association)
Both men and women with this syndrome are fertile and can have families of their own. However, the Down syndrome survival rate for the baby is low, since miscarriages in women with Down syndrome are extremely frequent. They are more likely to require a Cesarean section or to have a prematurely born baby too.
29. People with Down syndrome were institutionalized up to the 1980s in the US.
(Global Down Syndrome Foundation)
Before the 80s, most adults with this syndrome were characterized as “retarded,” and were kept in special institutions. Luckily, Down syndrome awareness has made some changes; today people with Down syndrome live with their families and are treated with care and respect.
Medicinal Marijuana and Down Syndrome Stats
30. Only 3 mg of THC per kilogram for 4 weeks can lead to the preservation of neurons of people with Down syndrome.
One study has discovered that Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome have the same build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain. In fact, the study classifies these two disorders as a variation of the same disease. The scientists conducting this study have found that cannabis can help people with Down syndrome, and statistics for Down syndrome have confirmed this.
31. People with Down syndrome and ADHD can ease their ADHD symptoms with cannabis, with only an 8% chance of side effects.
Scientists have found that medicinal cannabis can help people with ADHD since it has antipsychotic and anti-anxiety properties. Medicinal marijuana helps manage impulsivity and hyperactivity.
32. CBD oil can reduce the number of epilepsy seizures in children with Down syndrome.
Epilepsy and Down syndrome statistics have CBD oil in common. An eight-year-old boy with Down syndrome used to suffer close to 10 seizures every day. After a few months of using CBD oil, his seizures almost ceased and he started walking again, which only shows that you can ease the symptoms of Down syndrome with cannabis.
33. CBD oil for treating children with various disorders can cost more than $500 a month.
Even though cannabidiol can do wonders for different disorders, health care doesn’t always cover this cost, and in some states, it’s not even legal. Hence, as statistics of Down syndrome show, if people want to treat their child with CBD oil, they will have to spend a fortune. State revenues from marijuana taxes are pretty high.
34. Hyperactivity symptoms in children with autism improve in 68% of cases after the use of CBD oil.
Since autism is a Down syndrome comorbidity, it can probably help people with this condition as well. The same study has found that CBD lessens the anxiety symptoms in 47% of cases, and influences the overall improvement in 74% of cases.
How to prevent Down syndrome?
There’s absolutely no way to prevent this genetic disorder. The only thing a person with a high chance of having a baby with Down syndrome can do is to have a talk with a genetic counselor before conceiving.
Can smoking weed cause Down syndrome in a baby?
(Harvard Medical School)
Even though medicinal marijuana can help with many conditions, disorders, and illnesses, smoking marijuana during pregnancy can only cause harm to the baby.
THC can get into the baby’s blood through the placenta and cause brain development issues. Later on, it can cause issues with the child’s attention, impulse control, and it can raise the risk of substance abuse.
The Bottom Line
If you are raising a child with Down syndrome, or you take care of someone with this genetic disorder, we hope that these Down syndrome statistics and facts helped you realize that you’re not alone.
Having a genetic disorder can bring many difficulties to people who are affected, but those challenges can be won with the support of family, friends, and highly skilled medical professionals.
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