Each year, there are a significant number of children who are born of low birth weight. For many, this complication in growth may be attributed to the lifestyle choices of the mother but, for others, the complication may be attributed to genetic disorder known as Bloom syndrome.
Bloom syndrome, commonly found in children born to families of eastern European decent, is a condition that can significantly impair the growth and development of your infant. The most notable characteristic of Bloom syndrome is the extremely low birth weight of the children, with males often weighing no more than five pounds and female infants weight no more than four pounds.
When diagnosed with Bloom syndrome, your infant will experience complications associated with a complication in the immune system, with most infants experiencing a high level of sun sensitivity and born with a significant pre-disposition for developing most any type of cancer.
Skin disorders are quite common in children with Bloom syndrome. Primarily due to the depressed immune system, children with Bloom syndrome will usually suffer from their first rash outbreak around the age of two or three. As your child ages, and becomes a teenager, lesions develop from the outbreak, leaving many children to suffer from discolored areas of the skin, commonly mistaken as birth marks.
In addition to lesions and skin disorders, the child with Bloom syndrome may grow normally but, as they approach adolescence, the child will begin to develop a more unique appearance with ears that protrude, a relatively large nose and a long and narrow face. These characteristics are coupled with a shortened height, generally no taller than five feet, although these children are not classified as dwarfed.
Contrary to popular believe, the abnormal growth and develop in children with Bloom syndrome does not lead to a shortened life span. Instead, the shortened life span experienced by most Bloom syndrome children may be attributed to the development of cancer, usually in the stomach or associated with leukemia.
If you have a family history of eastern European ancestry, as part of your prenatal genetic counseling, you may want to request the screening into conditions such as Bloom syndrome. While not all prenatal genetic testing can pinpoint every disease, it may provide some insight into the risks for Bloom syndrome. Even still, when your infant is born with a relatively low birth weight, the neonatalogist will most likely order this test, along with many others, to determine what, if any complications your newborn may experience.