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What can you do during pregnancy to prevent Turner syndrome?

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As of 2015, there is no way to prevent Turner syndrome, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. This rare genetic disorder affects women and girls and occurs when the sex chromosomes, which are XX in women, are incomplete. Most individuals with Turner syndrome have only one X chromosome, although some may have a full X and a partial X.

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Patients with Turner syndrome can have normal lives as long as they are closely monitored, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. The condition can lead to a number of complications, including heart defects, diabetes, scoliosis and kidney problems. Some patients develop cataracts, arthritis, high blood pressure and thyroid disease.

Turner syndrome is often diagnosed with genetic testing during pregnancy, but it can be diagnosed at any age, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. Babies with the condition frequently have a wide, webbed neck and swollen feet and hands. Older girls often experience dry eyes, drooping eyelids and short height. Patients may have incomplete development at puberty, resulting in small breasts, vaginal dryness and only a small amount of pubic hair.

Physicians treat Turner syndrome by placing patients on hormone replacement therapy as early as age 12 or 13 so they develop breasts, pubic hair and other sexual traits, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. Girls sometimes receive growth hormone to increase height.

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