- Down Syndrome
- What are the different types of Down syndrome?
- Is it known why Down syndrome happens?
- How does Down syndrome affect the body?
- What risk factors are associated with Down syndrome?
- Screening and diagnosis for Down syndrome
- Treatment for Down syndrome and condition management
- Living with Down syndrome
- Down syndrome FAQs
What risk factors are associated with Down syndrome?
Although it is known what causes Down syndrome as a condition, why an error in chromosomal development occurs is not. Thus, the condition is not one which can be prevented or corrected (cured).
Through research, medical professionals have noted similarities which determine risk factors or the likelihood of having a baby with Down syndrome. These include:
- Advanced maternal age (a woman over the age of 35)
- Advanced paternal age (a man over the age of 40)
- A previous pregnancy with a down syndrome foetus (carried full term or miscarried).
- Individuals who carry genetic translocation (the Robertsonian translocation type)
- Individuals with a family history of down syndrome
Statistically, risk is higher with any of the aforementioned factors, but does not necessarily mean all babies born to, for instance, older parents, will be down syndrome. Younger women (under 30) who have more children can also have a baby with Down syndrome. Risk factors are based on similarities noted from large populations over a number of years.
If risk factors are of concern, doctors may suggest consulting with a geneticist or seeing a genetic counsellor. This can help potential parents better understand the nature of potential risk, as well as assess the results of genetic testing (should potential parents opt for this).