Health conditions and their impact among adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome

Document Type


Publication details

Pikora, TJ, Bourke, J, Bathgate, K, Foley, KR, Lennox, N & Leonard, H 2014, 'Health conditions and their impact among adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome', PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 5.

Article available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed



Objective: To examine the prevalence of medical conditions and use of health services among young adults with Down syndrome and describe the impact of these conditions upon their lives.
Methods: Using questionnaire data collected in 2011 from parents of young adults with Down syndrome we investigated the medical conditions experienced by their children in the previous 12 months. Univariate, linear and logistic regression analyses were performed.
Results: We found that in addition to the conditions commonly experienced by children with Down syndrome, including eye and vision problems (affecting 73%), ear and hearing problems (affecting 45%), cardiac (affecting 25%) and respiratory problems (affecting 36%), conditions also found to be prevalent within our young adult cohort included musculoskeletal conditions (affecting 61%), body weight (affecting 57%), skin (affecting 56%) and mental health (affecting 32%) conditions and among young women menstrual conditions (affecting 58%). Few parents reported that these conditions had no impact, with common impacts related to restrictions in opportunities to participate in employment and community leisure activities for the young people, as well as safety concerns.
Conclusion: There is the need to monitor, screen and provide appropriate strategies such as through the promotion of healthy lifestyles to prevent the development of comorbidities in young people with Down syndrome and, where present, to reduce their impact.

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