Triple X syndrome is relatively rare, occurring in about 1 of 1000 females. The name Triple X refers to a genetic condition in which the girl is born with an extra X chromosome and thus has three instead of the usual two.
Some girls may exhibit the extra X chromosome in all of their cells while others may only have this condition in a much smaller number of cells. This variation also results in a wide difference in the symptoms that can be observed in affected individuals.
Symptoms associated with Triple X syndrome
A large majority of the girls affected with Triple X syndrome will exhibit no symptoms at all and thus the disease is quite under-diagnosed. In those girls that do show symptoms, the following physical signs are seen:
- A head that may be smaller than average in size
- The height of the affected girls is taller than the average
- The muscular tone of the girls is less defined than average
The lack of muscle tone and strength also means that affected girls end up walking slower and are clumsier than other girls their age.
Apart from the physical signs, there are some mental symptoms as well that are associated with Triple X syndrome. These include:
- A delay in the development of speech and language skills
- A much higher percentage of girls born with Triple X syndrome are dyslexic than other girls without the syndrome. Some studies estimate that almost 50% of the girls with Triple X syndrome suffered from dyslexia.
- Problems adjusting with others and developing good social skills is more difficult for the affected girls
- A very high percentage of girls with Triple X syndrome also suffer from anxiety
- The average IQ of girls with Triple X syndrome is around 20 points lower than girls unaffected by this disorder.
Research into Triple X syndrome is quite basic and a lot more work needs to be done. Current evidence suggests that having an extra X chromosome affects the executive functioning of the brain and makes it difficult for affected girls to manage time, build social skills, or focus on tasks.
Low self-esteem, difficulty in gaining job skills, and a higher rate of autism are all seen as complications of the Triple X syndrome.
While most women affected with Triple X syndrome will be able to bear children, there is evidence that points to an earlier onset of menopause than other unaffected females. Women may stop producing eggs at a much earlier age and thus start exhibiting the symptoms of menopause early.
Treatment of Triple X syndrome
There is ‘cure’ or treatment of Triple X syndrome. A girl born with the disorder is always going to have it. The treatment will depend on the symptoms being exhibited and be aimed at reducing the impact of those symptoms on the quality of life.
Speech therapy, physical therapy, special education classes, psychological counseling, and family support are all very important in trying to ensure that there is no difference in the kind of a life a girl with Triple X syndrome leads when compared to an unaffected girl.
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