General Medical /Health


Many people with Down syndrome are fit and healthy but there are many medical problems that occur more frequently in Down syndrome. These may present atypically and due to their learning disability individuals might be less likely to complain of their symptoms. And there may be diagnostic shadowing when symptoms are assumed to be ?part of Down syndrome?. If not detected early and treated, illness can affect physical health and development. Knowledge of the different patterns of disease is important therefore to help to reduce medically associated complications.Life expectancy of people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically over the past century mainly due to improvements in access to cardiac surgery and better treatment of respiratory infections.

All children with Down syndrome should be under the care of a paediatrician . Regular health checks should be undertaken a suggested schedule of health checks , and following local or national guidelines.

Transfer of care from the paediatrician to the GP usually occurs at school leaving age with additional input from specialists e.g. Cardiologist and the Adult Learning Disability team when required. In the UK all those with an intellectual disability are entitled to an annual health check , usually arranged with the GP .

DSMIG Guidance

DSMIG evidence-based guidelines for basic essential medical surveillance

Suggested schedule of Health checks from the Personal Child Health Record insert DSMIG 2011

Additional Resources

Medical management of children with Down syndrome Charleton P.M, Dennis J and Marder E. ( 2014) Paediatrics and Child Health 24, 8: 362?369

Nottingham Guidelines for Management of Children with Down Syndrome ( 2012)

RCPCH service specification for children and young people with Down syndrome – draft (2013)

American Academy of Pediatrics Health Supervision for Children With Down Syndrome Marilyn J. Bull, MD ( 2011)Pediatrics 128,2 :393 -406 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-1605)

Down’s Syndrome Association annual health check information for GPs Down Syndrome Association, England Wales and Northern Ireland 2014

Adult Down’s Syndrome Health Book Down Syndrome Association, England Wales and Northern Ireland 2014

Down Syndrome – Current Perspectives (2015)

Edited by Richard Newton , Shiela Puri and Liz Marder

Mackeith Press