There are some health concerns that are common in people with Down syndrome. Some of these conditions are listed on this page. You can click on each item for more information and links to additional resources. This is not an all encompassing list. Both NDSC and NDSS have information available addressing concerns not listed on this website.


There is no "cure" for Down syndrome because it is not a disease. People with Down syndrome have a life expectancy of 60+ years and with appropriate healthcare (among other things) lead happy and fulfilling lives.


We provide this information not because we feel that parents need to be afraid of these things, but because having all the information will help to ensure quality of life for your child.


Health Care Guidelines


Alzheimer's Disease


Dual Diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism


Ear Nose and Throat Concerns

Regional Resources:


The Denver Adult Down Syndrome Clinic


Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome (Denver, CO)


Wyoming Parent Information Center

For more information on medical conditions associated with Down Syndrome visit:


National Down Syndrome Congress


National Down Syndrome Society


Down Syndrome: Health Issues


Atlanto-axial Instability.

Atlanto-axial instability or AAI describes an increased flexibility between the first and second bones of the neck. Most individuals with Down syndrome have some increased flexibility of joints, called ligamentous laxity, which can affect any of their joints. AAI refers to this condition when it affects the joint between the first and second cervical vertebrae.*


*NDSC Website



Down Syndrome Health Issues


Celiac Disease.

Celiac disease is a condition where the body is unable to properly digest barley, rye, and wheat products. As the condition can range from mild to severe, the symptoms can also vary including difficulty gaining weight, diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation. An initial diagnosis can be made through a simple blood test, but a definitive test requires a special procedure from a GI specialist.*


*NDSS Website




Down Syndrome Health Issues


Celiac Disease Foundation


Heart Disease.

Abnormalities of the cardiovascular system are common in Down syndrome. Approximately half of all infants born with Down syndrome have a heart defect. Many of these defects have serious implications and it is important to understand them and how they may affect the child so that appropriate medical may be provided.*


*NDSS Website


Speech and Language.

Among the most common challenges confronting people with Down syndrome is speech and language development. Both early intervention and on-going therapies can reduce and often eliminate barriers.*


*NDSC Website


Endocrine Problems.

Individuals with Down syndrome have a higher incidence of endocrine problems than the general population. The endocrine system refers to a set of glands that include the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands.*


*NDSS Website