Why do people with down syndrome have a lower life expectancy?

Medically Reviewed by Checkmark Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sravanthi Sunkaraneni
How does down's syndrome affect life expectancy?
People with down's syndrome now have a nearly 60-year life expectancy, up from 12 years in 1949. However, it is still lower than those without the condition as a person with down syndrome is more likely to develop various diseases and may have congenital abnormalities that shorten their live expectancy.

Last Updated on March 27, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Life expectancy in India was 25.4 in the year 1800. Now, after about 220 years, it increased to almost 70. However, there are a few medical conditions that can reduce life expectancy. This article explains whether people with down syndrome have a lower life expectancy and why. We will also discuss whether the life expectancy has improved for such patients.

Do people with down syndrome have a lower life expectancy?

Yes. It is low as compared to people who do not have down syndrome. However, the life expectancy of people with down syndrome (DS) has dramatically increased over the years. A person with down syndrome is at risk of many diseases and congenital abnormalities. This can affect their longevity. According to a research article in the American Journal on Mental Retardation, impaired mobility and feeding skills were found to be stronger indicators of premature mortality. The study revealed that life expectancy projections were notably lower for individuals with down syndrome who lacked these abilities as compared to those who didn’t.

Why does down syndrome affects life expectancy?

Individuals with down syndrome are more susceptible to certain health conditions, such as heart defects, respiratory problems, and thyroid issues, which can contribute to a shorter lifespan.

Also, a person with down syndrome has lower immunity. Therefore, the prevalence of immune-related diseases is higher in the cases of down syndrome than others. Hence, people with the condition tend to have a lower life expectancy. Lastly, they may also have difficulty accessing appropriate healthcare. This too can contribute to poor health outcomes and a lower life expectancy.

Has life expectancy for down syndrome patients improved over the years?

Yes. Research states the projected lifespan of individuals with down syndrome has evolved over time. The life expectancy has risen from 12 years in 1949 to almost 60 years presently. However, due to this prolonged lifespan, a larger group of adults with DS experience premature age-related health concerns. Consequently, specialised healthcare is essential for the aging population of adults with DS. This is because they are more susceptible to certain ailments than others.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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