Information for Patients
Developmental disabilities are severe, long-term problems. They may be physical, such as blindness. They may affect mental ability, such as learning disabilities. Or the problem can be both physical and mental, such as Down syndrome. The problems are usually life-long, and can affect everyday living.
There are many causes of developmental disabilities, including
- Genetic or chromosome abnormalities. These cause conditions such as Down syndrome and Rett syndrome.
- Prenatal exposure to substances. For example, drinking alcohol when pregnant can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
- Certain infections in pregnancy
- Preterm birth
Often there is no cure, but treatment can help the symptoms. Treatments include physical, speech, and occupational therapy. Special education classes and psychological counseling can also help.
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they're easier to treat. You can get some screenings in your doctor's office. Others need special equipment, so you may need to go to a different office or clinic.
Some conditions that doctors commonly screen for include
- Breast cancer and cervical cancer in women
- Colorectal cancer
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Overweight and obesity
- Prostate cancer in men
Which tests you need depends on your age, your sex, your family history, and whether you have risk factors for certain diseases. After a screening test, ask when you will get the results and whom to talk to about them.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality