Clinical Aspects of Down Syndrome with Alzheimer’s Disease Symptomatology
- Pp. 20-41 (22)George Capone and Meghan O`Neill
Longevity has increased rapidly in the Down syndrome (DS) population since around 1970 with many individuals surviving into the late 50s and 60s. There has been a notable increase in the number of aging adults between 35-60 years (born 1947- 1972) who now require expert medical care. By the time individuals with DS reach their 40s several age-related medical conditions are usually evident and maybe expected to progress over time. As aging and medical complexity increases, this places further demands on aging caretakers and family members. In elderly adults experiencing sudden changes in behavior or adaptive status it is essential to consider the contributory role of several high impact medical conditions including sensory (hearing, vision) impairment, sleep apnea, seizures, hypothyroidism, chronic pain or congestive heart failure. Deterioration in gait and motor function can have multiple causes unrelated to dementia including cervical spondylosis with neural canal stenosis, cervical spine subluxation, lumbar disc herniation, and stroke. A high level of vigilance, routine monitoring and timely evaluation is required to detect and treat occult medical conditions early in their course.