Treatment for Down Syndrome
Medications can be used to treat certain conditions that occur in someone with Down syndrome. At this point, however, there is no medicine that will cure the disorder.
Some medical conditions seen in people with Down syndrome require surgery. For example, approximately half of the children with Down syndrome have congenital heart disease and associated early onset of pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs).
Common congenital heart problems include:
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Persistent ductus arteriosus
- Atrial septal defect
- Ventricular septal defect.
If the heart defects have been identified before the onset of pulmonary hypertension, surgery has provided favorable results.
Furthermore, cataracts occur in approximately 3 percent of children with Down syndrome. Cataracts can generally be removed surgically (see Cataract Surgery).
Counseling for parents and people with Down syndrome at different stages of development has been shown to be beneficial. Learning as much as possible about Down syndrome and possible problems is also important. Doctors, nurses, and other members of the healthcare team can answer questions about Down syndrome treatment options.
Patients and their families often find they need help coping with the emotional and practical aspects of Down syndrome. Meeting with a social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful for those who want to talk about their feelings or discuss their concerns.
Down syndrome support groups can also help. In support groups, patients and their family members get together to share what they have learned about coping with the disease. People with Down syndrome may want to talk with a member of their healthcare team about finding a support group. These groups can offer support in person, over the telephone, or on the Internet.
(Click Down Syndrome Babies, Children With Down Syndrome, Adolescents With Down Syndrome, or Adults With Down Syndrome to learn more about things to consider at each stage of development.)