Other health conditions


If you have Down's syndrome, you should see a GP once a year for a check-up, so they can check your health.

This is because there are other health conditions you may be more likely to have.

Find out more about annual health checks.

More common health needs

Help with speech, language and communication

Children with Down's syndrome might need some help speaking.

A speech and language therapist can help. They can:

Speak to a children's doctor (paediatrician), health visitor or GP who can refer your child to see a therapist.

Help with vision and hearing

People with Down's syndrome will need to have their sight and hearing regularly checked.

They may need to:

Speak to a children's doctor (paediatrician), health visitor or GP for more information.

Getting unwell with infections

People with Down's syndrome are more likely to have a weakened immune system (the body's defence system against infections). This means they can become seriously unwell when they catch any infection such as pneumonia or flu.

So it's also important to have all the vaccinations you should get.

It can also take longer for children and adults with Down's syndrome to get better when they are unwell. They're also more likely to need medical help and may need to go to hospital more often.

It can be difficult to tell when a baby or toddler is seriously ill, but the main thing is to trust your instincts and get medical help if you're worried.

You know better than anyone else what your child is usually like, so you'll know when something is wrong.

Other conditions

Heart conditions

Doctors will check your baby's heart soon after they're born.

This is because about half of all children with Down's syndrome are born with a heart condition (congenital heart disease).

If your baby has a heart condition it can sometimes get better on its own. But sometimes surgery is needed.

Speak to a children's doctor (paediatrician) to find out the next steps for your baby's care.


Some people with Down's syndrome can also have autism.

Common signs of autism include:

Find out more about signs of autism.

Alzheimer's and dementia

Adults with Down's syndrome should have regular check-ups from about the age of 30 to look for any possible signs of dementia.

This is because they can develop dementia at a younger age.

It can help to look out for signs such as:

Often these signs can be linked to conditions other than dementia.

But if you think someone you know is showing signs of dementia encourage them to speak to a GP.

You can read more about ageing and dementia on the Down's Syndrome Association website

Page last reviewed: 17 February 2023
Next review due: 17 February 2026