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Updated by The Road We've Shared on Nov 17, 2014
Headline for Health & Aging with Down syndrome
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Health & Aging with Down syndrome

Some tips for caregivers of adults who have Down syndrome about what to look for and talk to doctors about.

1

Hearing Impairments

Hearing Impairments

Age-related hearing loss is more common among adults with Ds & appears to have an earlier age of onset.

Few are identified or treated

May be associated with childhood ear problems

2

Menopause

Menopause

Early onset: age 45 - 52 (4 to 6 years earlier than general population)
Implications for health:

Menopause is a risk factor for:
heart disease
depression
osteoporosis
breast-cancer
dementia

3

Mitral valve prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse

Occurs in between 46 to 57% of adults with Ds
Not linked to previous heart problems
Early signs:
fatigue
weight gain
irritability

4

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal

Osteoporosis is common among adults with Ds & adults are at greater risk as they age
Degenerative osteoarthritis is also common among adults with Ds
Osteoarthritis of the spine affects
22% of middle age adults
40% of elderly adults

5

Obesity

Obesity

A significant portion of adults with Ds are reported to be overweight.
Between 45-79% of males
between 56-96% of females
with Ds are reported to be overweight.

6

Seizure Disorder

Seizure Disorder

The rate of seizures increases with age for individuals with Ds.
Dementia may be an important risk factors for late-onset seizures in adults with Ds.

7

Skin & Hair Changes

Skin & Hair Changes

Accelerated aging:
premature graying of the hair,
hair loss & wrinkling of the skin.

Be on the look-out for:
atopic dermatitis, fungal infections, seborrhoeic dermatitis, and xerosis.

8

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Up to 94% of adults with Ds suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Effects include:
increased risk of stroke
daytime sleepiness
impaired cognitive function
mood changes

Often undiagnosed

9

Thyroid dysfunction

Thyroid dysfunction

Approximately 35 - 40% of adults with Ds are reported to have abnormal thyroid function.

Thyroid functioning should be consistently & routinely monitored in adults with Ds.

10

Vision impairments

Vision impairments

Visual impairments & eye abnormalities are common among aging adults with Ds & tend to be undiagnosed & uncorrected.

Check early & often for:
cataracts
strabismus
refraction problems
keratoconus

11

Early onset Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Early onset Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Indicators include:
personality and behavioral changes
decrease in cognitive and language ability

By 40 years of age, virtually all individuals with Ds have neuropathological changes that are consistent with AD

Not every individual with Ds will develop dementia