A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Down Syndrome
I had a question the other day about Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is a condition caused by the presence of extra genetic material in the cells of a developing embryo.
The disorder occurs in approximately 1 in every 733 births, and usually results in mental retardation with distinctive physical abnormalities.
The incidence of Down syndrome increases with the age of the parents.
The risk is also higher for children of parents who’ve already given birth to a Down syndrome child.
Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 years in 1983 to 60 years today.
An infant born with Down syndrome typically, but not always, has physical traits like a small head, poor muscle tone, a flat facial profile, slanted eyes, a depressed nose bridge, low-set ears, furrowed tongue, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm.
People with Down syndrome are prone to having congenital heart disease and are more susceptible than most people to developing leukemia, thyroid disorders, and respiratory and digestive problems.
While females with Down syndrome may menstruate and be fertile, males are almost always infertile.
Although the degree of mental retardation varies greatly among different people with Down syndrome, the average IQ falls within the range of 50-60.
Generally, children with Down syndrome are able to learn everyday life skills and can be raised at home.
Special education and training allow many people with Down syndrome to lead happy, useful, and love-filled lives.
People with Down syndrome can live to middle or old age; but, as adults, they may be prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease plus pneumonia and other lung diseases.
It’s clear the metabolism of people with Down syndrome differs considerably from those who have a normal set of chromosomes.
Immunological dysfunction, growth retardation, cholesterol problems, and an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease are among the problems possible because of these metabolic differences.
People with Down syndrome have very different nutritional needs from those of the general population.
With proper, specialized nutrition, it’s possible to improve metabolic and immune functions, as well as overall health.
To deal with Down syndrome it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily hydrates body and brain cells and flushes toxins (whether thirsty or not!).
*Be patient when feeding a child with Down syndrome, and be sure to provide a balanced diet.
*Include fresh and whole foods rich in vegetable proteins, as well as foods high in magnesium, like fresh green vegetables, figs, meat, fish and seafood, nuts and seeds, tofu, blackstrap molasses, apples, kelp, soybeans, cornmeal, rice, apricots, and brewer’s yeast. (Brewer’s yeast can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Start with a small amount at first, and discontinue use if any allergic symptoms occur.)
*Reduce consumption of foods high in gluten, like wheat, rye, barley, and oats.
*Avoid refined foods, sugars, dairy products, and alcohol.
*Vitamin/mineral supplements and extra nutrients can be nutritionally beneficial for people with Down syndrome. However, any nutritional program should be designed with the help of a qualified physician or health care provider, who should take into account the individual makeup of any person with Down syndrome.
*One of the most common side effects seen in children with Down syndrome is hypothyroidism. One way to correct it in those whose zinc levels are too low is to supplement the diet with zinc. It’s important to determine your child’s zinc level before giving him or her zinc supplements.
*Care for a child with Down syndrome depends on the degree of mental and physical impairment. Carefully planned programs to promote development of motor and mental skills are important. Since learning potential is greatest during infancy, an early stimulation program of exercises based on the child’s ability is necessary for teaching gross motor skills.
*The risk of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome increases markedly after the age of 35. Amniocentesis is recommended if you become pregnant past this age.
*Additional information on Down syndrome, parent support groups, and early intervention programs for children with Down syndrome is available from The National Down Syndrome Society.
*Decrease toxic cleaning, laundry and personal care products.
*Decrease chemical additives, preservatives, pesticides, etc.
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