What are the possible GI complications of Down syndrome?

Updated: Apr 30, 2018
  • Author: Gratias Tom Mundakel, MBBS, DCH; Chief Editor: Maria Descartes, MD  more...
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Answer

Gastroesophageal reflux is commonly seen in children with Down syndrome and can be severe enough to result in aspiration of stomach contents, causing respiratory symptoms such as persistent coughing, wheezing, and pneumonia. Infants with oral-motor difficulties may present with choking and gagging on feedings, as well as the respiratory symptoms mentioned. Dysphagia may affect children as well as adults.  Celiac disease is more common in patients with Down syndrome than in those without it. Chronic constipation is frequently seen.

Obesity is common. Patients need to have specific dietary guidelines on caloric needs and portion sizes. An active lifestyle with routine exercises is recommended for the whole family. Children should be encouraged to participate in recreational activities, such as swimming, dancing, walking, and playing outdoors.


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