Like most people I find that it is pretty easy to pick out of a crowd someone who has Down Syndrome. There are certain physical characteristics that make those who carry an extra chromosomal enhancement stand out. What I didn’t realize, however, is that the physical markers go further, and there are some anatomical differences that sometimes go hand in hand with medical issues.
Those who have Down Syndrome often have significantly smaller ear canals and eustachian tubes. This can lead to a higher incidence of ear infections and fluid retention in the eustachian tubes sometimes requiring the surgical insertion of tubes.
Those who have Down Syndrome often have a less dense bronchial structure in their lungs which, coupled with lower muscle tone, leads to an increased risk of respiratory infections. When little ones with Down Syndrome contract a respiratory infection there are simply not enough of the dense bronchial structures and alveoli to combat the distress as there are in their typical peers.
Some individuals who have Down Syndrome have issues with sleep apnea due to smaller upper airways, larger tonsils and adenoids as well as lower muscle tone.
As medical care for our loved ones with Down Syndrome has improved, we have learned these facts and have also worked on solutions and ways to treat individuals with Down Syndrome in a more proactive manner.