Although the life expectancy of people with down’s syndrome has dramatically increased over the years, the life expectancy is still low as compared to people without down’s syndrome because a person with down’s syndrome is at risk of many diseases and congenital abnormalities which affect their longevity.
Also, a person with down’s syndrome has lower immunity, and therefore, the prevalence of immune-related diseases is higher in down’s syndrome than in the general population. Hence, people with DS tend to have lower life expectancy.
Research states, “expectations for the life course of individuals with down’s syndrome (DS) have changed, with life expectancy estimates increasing from 12 years in 1949 to nearly 60 years of age today. Along with this longer life expectancy comes a larger population of adults with DS who display premature age-related changes in their health. There is thus a need to provide specialised health care to this ageing population of adults with DS who are at high risk for some conditions and at lower risk for others”.
Another study published in the American Journal on Mental Retardation states, “a lack of mobility or feeding skills was a better predictor of an early death than were medical problems associated with congenital heart disease. Life expectancy estimates of those who lacked mobility or eating skills were poor compared with people with down’s syndrome who did not have these problems regardless of the presence of heart disease”.
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