A complex genetic disorder which causes developmental delay and affects the nervous system, Angelman Syndrome does not usually manifest until at least six months of age.
If your child has this particular genetic disorder, other common signs such as small head, problem in movement and balance of limbs will be present in early childhood.
This rare genetic disorder affects almost 1 in 12,000 to 20,000 people. Children with Angelman syndrome display typically happy, excitable behavior with frequent smiling and laughter. Unusually fair skin and light colored hair are typical physical characteristics.
Is it an inherited condition?
Most cases of Angelman syndrome are not inherited, particularly if it is caused by deletion in the maternal chromosome 15. The changes in genes can take place randomly, during the formation of reproductive cells or at early stages of fetal development. Victims don’t typically have any history of the disorder in their family.
In very rare cases, the gene changes in gene responsible for Angelman syndrome can be inherited, so it is essential for you to take great care of your growing baby during pregnancy(prenatal care).
Is Angelman syndrome serious?
As there is no way to repair chromosome defects, there is no perfect cure for Angelman syndrome. Complications associated with Angelman syndrome include:
- Feeding difficulties: For some infants with Angelman syndrome, feeding can become a very difficult task, particularly during the first few months of life. If your child has difficulty feeding, your child’s healthcare provider may recommend a high calorie formula to maintain the child’s healthy weight.
- Sleeping disorders: It is quite common for people with this rare genetic disorder to experience abnormal sleep patterns. In some cases, medications and behavioral therapy help to control sleep problems.
- Increased motor activity or hyperactivity: If your child has Angelman syndrome, s/he may have increased motor activity. Children with this rare genetic disorder may move quickly from one activity to another. This kind of hyperactivity often decreases with age and medications are usually not necessary.
If you are really concerned about your family history of Angelman syndrome or if your child has been diagnosed with Angelman syndrome, you should consult a genetic counselor for advice.