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

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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 more than 6 times more common in people with DS compared to people without DS. Some swallowing issu

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. Yogurt and fermented foods are two examples. There are many types of probiotic supplements with diff

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 organs.  Individuals with Down syndrome may be more susceptible to liver fibrosis because so

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 the esophagus. It is sometimes referred to as heartburn or acid reflux. GERD is common in infants and

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 unrecognized symptomatic colon cancer). If there is an abnormality or symptom, we refer patients for colon

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 cream. While the exact prevalence of lactose intolerance in people with Down syndrome is not known, the

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). Specifically, the inflammation leads to atrophy of the intestinal villi (which are the microscopic finger-like

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 thought to be more common in people with Down syndrome due to lower muscle tone (making bowel movements m

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 Americans have heartburn symptoms at least one time every month. GERD happens when acidic stomach co

The Utility of Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase Antibody-IgA (tTG-IgA) Testing for Celiac Disease in Adults with Down Syndrome

Author: Chicoine, Parikh, Sulo, & Chicoine - American Journal of Clinical Medicine

Abstract:  Objectives:  We assessed the diagnostic accuracy of the anti-tissue transglutaminase IgA antibody (tTG-IgA) test compared to esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) in adults with Down  syndrome (DS). Methods:  Retrospective chart review of 152 adult patients

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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

Irritable bowel is an intestinal motility abnormality. Often the person has increased contractions in the gastrointestinal system but rather than the contractions being functional in the usual manner, there is spasm and discomfort. Sometimes the person has recurrent constipation and some individuals

The Best of Gluten Free: Suggestions from a Gluten Free Mom

Author: Merrily Smith - Patient Advocate, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Against the Grain Gourmet https://againstthegraingourmet.com/ Products: Pizza crusts, pizza, baguettes, bagels, rolls Available at: Fruitful Yield health food stores, certain Whole Foods stores, some Heinen’s stores Comments: Pizza crusts are crisp and very tasty. Possibly the best tasting

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 information on the subject. There does appear to be some limited medical study information that supports th

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 physical exam may show evidence of weight loss, abdominal tenderness, or others but often there are

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 consultation with a dietitian/nutritionist who is knowledgeable about celiac disease and a gluten-free diet.

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