If you take extra care and consideration, your baby has a very good chance of having a healthy childhood. You will find that there are risks for extra health concerns but that does not necessarily mean that your child will have any of these problems. While there is a fairly long list of possible health concerns, most of these are unlikely to occur and actually are fairly uncommon. Monitoring for these health issues will help to find these problems early if they exist--and early care can go a long way toward minimizing the problem. Good child health care is important for your child and needs to start with the basics. The regular well-child visits to your provider offers lots of opportunities to investigate problems, to consider upcoming issues, and to practice prevention. Here are some of the issues that you will want to emphasize.
Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart disease (heart disease which is present at birth) is very common in children with Down syndrome. Around 40-50% of newborns with Down syndrome will have some type of congenital heart defect. This will often require medications and some type of intervention such as open-heart surgery or a cardiac catheterization. Sometimes the defects are relatively minor and do not need any treatment. Fortunately, nowadays the overwhelming majority of congenital heart defects in infants and children with Down syndrome can be fully corrected. You are most likely overwhelmed with all the new diagnoses: the diagnosis of Down syndrome, the diagnosis of congenital heart disease. It is important to realize that you are not alone. Other parents with similar experiences and the Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center are available for support. Your pediatric cardiologist will monitor and see your child as much as needed and make sure that the best possible medical care is provided.