Down Syndrome | Symptoms


What are the physical signs and birth defects of Down syndrome?

Some of the most common physical signs of Down syndrome are upward slanting eyes, flattened facial features, ears that are small or unusually shaped, broad hands with short fingers and curved "pinky" fingers, and a small head. None of these physical differences cause health problems.

Some birth defects associated with Down syndrome cause more serious health problems. Babies who have Down syndrome often have poor muscle tone or problems with their heart, stomach or eyes. Intelligence ranges from low normal to very retarded (slow to learn), which can make learning and development more difficult.


See a list of resources used in the development of this information.

Some of this content was developed by the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities in CA (USC), MA (UMass Boston), IA (U of IA), KY (U of KY) and supported in part by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement with Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). The opinions expressed are strictly those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the supporting organizations.

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 01/99