What Are the Long-Term Effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Learning disorders, mental retardation and memory deficits are long-term effects of fetal alcohol syndrome, reports MedicineNet. Additionally, physical defects such as wide-set eyes and a thin upper lip are commonly associated with fetal alcohol syndrome, explains Mayo Clinic. However, the complications of fetal alcohol syndrome vary significantly from one person to another.

Fetal alcohol syndrome causes long-term physical effects such as impaired hearing and vision, problems with regulating sleep patterns, and the ability to reason, according to MedicineNet. Central nervous system problems such as poor balance and coordination are other lasting effects. A person with fetal alcohol syndrome may also have a poor attention span and display hyperactivity and mood instability, states Mayo Clinic. Additionally, the long-term effects of fetal alcohol syndrome may involve issues related to substance abuse and sexual behavior.

Fetal alcohol syndrome causes stunted growth that results in irregular physical features such as a short height and a small head circumference and brain size, explains Mayo Clinic. However, the irregular facial features associated with fetal alcohol syndrome such as smooth skin between the lip and nose and an upturned nose typically reduce in severity with advancing age, reports MedicineNet. Fetal alcohol syndrome also causes finger, limb and joint deformities and bone, kidney and heart problems.