Characteristic Features and Symptoms of Down Syndrome

Although the severity of Down syndrome ranges from mild to severe, most individuals with Down syndrome have widely recognizable physical characteristics. These include:

  • a flattened face and nose, a short neck, a small mouth sometimes with a large, protruding tongue, small ears, upward slanting eyes that may have small skin folds at the inner corner (epicanthal fold);
  • white spots (also known as Brushfield spots) may be present on the colored part of the eye (iris);
  • the hands are short and broad with short fingers, and with a single crease in the palm;
  • poor muscle tone and loose ligaments are also common; and
  • development and growth is usually delayed and often average height and developmental milestones are not reached.

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