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Hypotonia can be caused by a variety of conditions, including those that involve the central nervous system, muscle disorders and genetic disorders. Some common causes can include but are not limited to:
• Down syndrome
• Muscular dystrophy
• Cerebral palsy
• Prader-Willi syndrome
• Myotonic dystrophy
• Marfan syndrome
• Tay-Sachs disease
The following are common symptoms associated with hypotonia. Each child may experiences symptoms differently. Symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause of the problem.
• Decreased muscle tone, muscles feel soft and doughy
• Ability to extend limb beyond its normal limit
• Failure to acquire motor related developmental milestones (such as holding head up without support from parent,
rolling over, sitting up without support, walking)
• Problems with feeding (inability to suck or chew for prolonged periods)
• Shallow breathing
• Mouth hangs open with tongue protruding (under-active gag reflex)
Some hypotonias are not progressive and are of an unknown origin, a condition known as benign congenital hypotonia.
• Central nervous system function and intelligence in children is normal.
• Children with benign congenital hypotonia may not experience developmental delay.
• Some children acquire gross motor skills (sitting, walking, running, jumping) more slowly than most.
The signs and symptoms of hypotonia resemble that of other conditions. Always consult a physician for a diagnosis.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”