There are certain medical conditions that can cause lifelong disabilities in a person. Often these are mental or physical conditions that can be debilitating. Down syndrome is a medical condition that is genetic in nature and affects both physical and mental abilities of a person to a certain degree. Children with the condition also face a number of dermatologic problems including hair loss. We shall look into this matter in further detail in the following lines.
What is Down Syndrome?
It is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of some or all of a copy of Chromosome 21. It is also known as Trisomy 21. Typically is slows down the physical as well as the mental growth of a person. It also has clear effects on the facial structure of a person. The generally observed IQ is 50 in Down Syndrome patients and they generally have the intellectual ability of a child of eight to nine years of age though it can vary in individual cases.
Many patients suffering from the condition are able to graduate from high school and some may be able to pursue further education. Employment is also possible and many people with the condition are employed in controlled environments. Life expectancy in developed countries is 50 to 60 years with proper care.
Hair Loss Due to Down Syndrome
A person with Down syndrome can suffer from a number of skin related conditions including Aconthosis Nigrans, Atopic Dermatitis, Chelitis and Syringomas amongst a number of others. Hair loss is also possible in patients which are mainly attributed to the Alopecia Areata.
Five to nine percent of Down syndrome patients suffer from the autoimmune disease in comparison with one to two percent of the common population which signals to a link between the two. The hair loss can be in certain areas of the scalp or can affect the entire head (Alopecia Totalis). All the hair on the body can also be lost which is known Alopecia Universalis.
How to manage this?
Currently the treatments that are available focus on regrowth and nothing solid on stopping the hair loss in the first place is available. Injections of corticosteroids are generally used to treat the condition in adults and teenagers but due to the pain involved, these are impractical in children. The application of steroid creams also has not had any serious effects on children. Anthralin and minoxidil have given good results in regrowth. There are some drugs in testing phase that have said to be providing positive results.
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