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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a health issue in the intestines (bowels). It is not clear how common it is in people with Down syndrome (DS).  However, we suspect that IBS is more common i

Low Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - "Ask Dr. Chicoine" LuMind IDSC Foundation

Blood pressure and heart rates/pulses that are on the lower end of normal or even a little lower than normal are common findings in people with Down syndrome (see this article and this study ). Much o

When Veins Don't Work

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

What is the vascular system? Our vascular system includes blood vessels (including veins, arteries, and smaller blood vessels) as well as the heart. Arteries carry blood away from the heart towards th

Swallowing Problems (Dysphagia)

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Swallowing problems (dysphagia) are common in people with Down syndrome (DS). In our large cohort study that reviewed health data from people cared for within Advocate Health, swallowing problems were

Use of Probiotics by People with Down Syndrome

Author: Adult Down Syndrome Center - Resource

What are probiotics? Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms (e.g., bacteria). Foods with labels that say "live and active cultures" contain probiotics.

Liver Fibrosis

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Fibrosis of the liver can be thought of as a "scar" in the liver that results from chronic liver injury. It is similar to scarring that may form on the skin or in the lung or other o

Treating Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease with Surgery

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

We were asked about surgical options for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach contents, including acid, go "backwards" from the stomach up into t

Vasovagal Syncope (Fainting)

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

What is vasovagal syncope?  Vasovagal syncope is what we commonly think of as fainting in response to emotional upset or pain. Chen-Scarabelli and Scarabelli (2004) define it as “a

Colon Cancer Screening for People with Down Syndrome

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Is colon cancer screening recommended for people with Down syndrome? Please note that this handout discusses screening colonoscopies (i.e. colonoscopies performed to identify pre-symptomatic or unreco

Use of Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attacks

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

We were sent a question about the use of aspirin to prevent heart attacks in people with Down syndrome. We have provided some information below. Please note that this information is for educational pu

Lactose Intolerance

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

People with Down syndrome can experience a variety of gastrointestinal issues. One of them is intolerance to foods containing lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products like milk and ice crea

Celiac Disease

Author: Robert Campbell, DO - Family Medicine Resident, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

What is celiac disease? Celiac disease is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the small intestine that occurs when the intestine is exposed to gluten (see more on gluten below). Specificall

Constipation in Down Syndrome

Author: Samantha Ghanayem-Bouikidis, MD - Family Medicine Resident, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

Constipation is a common problem in people with Down syndrome as well as the general population. Studies show that chronic constipation affects between 2 and 27% of the general population. It is thoug

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Author: Allison Schnitzler, MD - Family Medicine Resident, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux and heartburn, is common among people both with and without Down syndrome. One study showed that as many as 44% (almost one half!) of

Down Syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, and Bicuspid Aortic Valve

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

We were sent a question about Down syndrome and Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome and Bicuspid Aortic Valve. WPW is a heart condition in which there is an extra electrical pathway in the heart. The

Celiac Disease and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Can celiac disease cause obsessive compulsive disorder? This question was recently asked by a family member of a person with Down syndrome.  I have reviewed several articles and other informa

Celiac Treatment

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

How is celiac disease treated? The treatment for celiac disease is diet. It requires strict adherence to eliminating gluten in the diet. How do I get started? The recommended first step is a consultat

Celiac Testing in Adolescents and Adults with Down Syndrome

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

The starting place for making the diagnosis of celiac disease is the history and physical exam. The symptoms of celiac disease can vary widely (see resource on the description of celiac disease). The

Down Syndrome and Heart Disease

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

If a 45-year-old man presents to the emergency room with chest pain, what is the big concern? Coronary ischemia (low blood flow to the heart muscle) and possibly myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Hypertension and Hypotension

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a major health problem – except not for people with Down syndrome. There has recently been much discussion about reducing the salt consumption of the Un

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Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.

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