What Are Some Common Genetic Birth Defects?


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Common genetic birth defects include sickle cell disease, Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis, states Healthline. These defects occur from abnormalities in a child’s chromosomes or genes.

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Sickle cell disease is a condition in which a child inherits two sickle hemoglobin genes from the parents, due to a genetic abnormality, reports WebMD. The hemoglobin in normal round red blood cells carries blood effectively to all body parts. Oxygen from sickle hemoglobin sticks together and form rods, damaging red blood cells and causing them to have crescent shapes. This action causes anemia, pain and damage to the lungs, kidneys, brain and liver.

Down syndrome occurs from abnormal cell division, causing extra genetic material from chromosome 21, notes Mayo Clinic. As of 2015, the cause of Down syndrome is unknown, but risk factors include a child born to a woman aged 35 and above and having a brother or sister with this condition, according to WebMD. Children with this syndrome tend to have a short neck and flat face and may have learning disabilities.

Cystic fibrosis is a condition that affects the cells that produce digestive juices, mucus and sweat, causing severe damage to the digestive system and the lungs. These secretions become thick and sticky, plugging the ducts, tubes and passageways in the pancreas and lungs.

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