March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day...and today, I'm dedicating this podcast in honor of my cousin Pippi, who brings our family immense joy with her special personality and big heart.
But do you know why 3/21 is World Downs Syndrome Day??
Welcome to Health Made Simple. Most people know of someone who has Down Syndrome and some people have a family member affected by Down Syndrome, but not everyone knows what the disorder is! That’s what Health Made Simple is made for — a place where you can get clear, concise, and up-to-date health information in just 5 minutes or less.
All of the DNA in our cells is contained in a set of bundles known as chromosomes. Most people have 23 pairs of chromosomes, with one copy from each parent number 1 to 23 to make 46 total chromosomes.
To answer the question we led off with, WHY IS March 21 WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY?
people with down syndrome have a trisomy 21 genetic disorder. This means that instead of having two copies of chromosome 21, people with Down Syndrome have three.
THEY HAVE 3 COPIES on their 21st CHROMOSOME.
But why does this make people with Down Syndrome different from everyone else? Our DNA acts like a recipe book, and each gene is like a specific recipe. They contain all the instructions on how to make proteins, which are like the delicious pie or pot roast that each recipe, or gene, makes. Proteins are then used to maintain our cells and keep them happy and healthy. If you’re cooking or baking and add too much or too little of one ingredient, it can change the way the final product comes out. It’s the same for people with Down Syndrome. The extra chromosome causes a baby to develop differently, leading it to develop the symptoms of Down Syndrome.
Although this disorder might affect a child physically and mentally, it doesn’t mean they can’t live a normal and fulfilling life! Many go to school, have jobs, and participate in society just like everybody else. Some are even great athletes! Check out the Special Olympics next winter, which will be held in D.C.! Every person with Down Syndrome is different so it is important to support them in a way that best fits their needs. For parents of children with Down Syndrome, this can mean working with a network of trusted healthcare professionals, teachers, and therapists and getting involved with the supportive community for special needs families.
We hope that you can add us to your list of trusted sources for health information and news. Join us next time as we’ll be talking about a very important organ! (Hint: it’s not the heart)