Obstructive sleep apnea. This is a condition where a person’s breathing stops and restarts many times as they sleep. Typically, a child with Down syndrome gets checked for sleep apnea by age 4. During an overnight sleep test, doctors check to see if your child’s breathing stops and restarts. If so, she may need to wear a mask while sleeping. The mask is attached to a machine that helps her breathe normally. Sometimes, larger-than-normal tonsils and adenoids cause sleep apnea. In this case, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove them.
Leukemia. Children with Down syndrome are at a 10- to 20-fold increase for developing this blood cancer. But the risk is still at 2%. Leukemia is curable.
Thyroid . Thyroid disorders are more prevalent in children with Down syndrome.
Other medical problems. Your child may also have other less common issues that need treatment, such as:
- Blockage in the intestine. Some babies with Down syndrome get Hirschsprung’s disease, where part of the intestine gets blocked. This is treated with surgery that removes part of the intestine.
- Infections. Babies with Down syndrome also have weaker immune systems, so they may get sick more often. There’s no treatment for this, but it means that getting vaccines on time is even more important.
- Thyroid problems . The thyroid makes hormones your body need. In kids with Down syndrome, it sometimes doesn’t make enough. If that happens, your child will take medicine to help.