Trisomy 18

April 8, 2012 by staff 

Trisomy 18, What is Trisomy 18 and why are people asking about it? Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is a GOP presidential candidate. His daughter Isabella suffers from the genetic disorder called Trisomy 18 and is in Hospital again. Most people don’t know what this disease is, but as I have previously written sometimes it takes a celebrity to bring such diseases into the limelight.

Trisomy 18 is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra 18th chromosome. Most babies born with the disease don’t live past their first birthday, since it may cause kidney failures, eating and breathing difficulties, heart defeats and other abnormalities. Santorum’s daughter is an amazing exception — she has managed to reach the age of three.

Santorum has used Trisomy 18 to his advantage in the campaign. He has created a political ad that shows him with his daughter as he talks about her struggles and how much he loves her. Her name alone gives him a huge boost in the public’s opinion of him since it casts him as a man committed to family.

It’s also a time when the U.S. is faced with a socialized health care system, known as Obamacare, which opponents argue will cause difficult decisions for the parents of children who face complicated and expensive-to-treat diseases. The Santorums had difficulty finding doctors who were experienced in treating Trisomy 18. This wide exposure for Trisomy 18 sheds new light on the struggle parents go through in dealing with such a tragedy and hopefully will instigate a change, lifting fundraising and research towards this disease.

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