- Researchers say people with autism are at increased risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- They pointed out that one reason for the increased risk of type 1 diabetes may be that people with autism have a higher incidence of autoimmune diseases.
- However, people with autism do not appear to have an increased risk of high blood pressure or stroke.
People with autism spectrum disorders are at increased risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
Researchers used 34 studies that included 276,173 participants with autism and 7,733,306 participants without the condition.
Overall, researchers found that people with autism had an increased risk of developing diabetes, dyslipidemia, and heart disease.
However, they said there was no evidence of an increased risk of high blood pressure or stroke.
Children and adults with autism were included in the study, but children with autism were more likely to develop diabetes and hypertension.
Here are the details of the findings:
- People with autism had a 57% higher risk of developing diabetes, a 64% higher risk of type 1 diabetes, and a 146% higher risk of type 2 diabetes than those without autism.
- The risk of developing dyslipidemia was 69% higher in people with autism than in those without.
- The risk of developing atherosclerotic heart disease was nearly 46% higher in individuals with autism.
- Triglyceride levels were significantly higher in people with autism.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and cholesterol levels were not significantly different in people with autism when compared to those without autism.
- HDL or “good cholesterol” was significantly lower in people with autism.
- People with autism were not at increased risk of macrovascular disease.
The researchers noted that the higher risk of type 1 diabetes is likely due to the higher risk of autoimmune diseases in people with autism.
Researchers say the increased likelihood of cardiometabolic disease may be due to people with autism tending to have shorter life spans.
Therefore, studies of older adults may underestimate those with autism.
Behavioral and lifestyle factors that can influence a high risk of heart disease include:
- Food selectivity, especially when unhealthy food is the preferred food
- Physical limitations that lead to lack of exercise
- sedentary behavior
- Sleeping disorder
- A side effect of drugs, such as atypical antipsychotics, that may be used to modify difficult behavior
Scientists have shown that research suggests an increased risk of diabetes, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerotic heart disease in individuals with autism.
“Children with autism appear to be at higher risk of developing [diabetes] hypertension compared to children without autism,” the researchers concluded. “Because early onset of cardiometabolic disease increases morbidity and health concerns, need for health care, and mortality, clinicians should be aware of early signs of cardiometabolic disease and its complications. , autistic individuals should be closely monitored.”
“I’m not surprised by the study results. Getting them to eat right is ten times more difficult when you have a child with autism,” said a pediatrician and pediatric cardiologist at KIDZ Medical Services. One Dr. Carlo Zeidenweber said:
“As a society, we have come a long way in understanding autism,” he told Healthline. Speech, physical, and occupational therapy are available to help children learn skills and coping mechanisms, but eating problems remain challenging and can be exhausting for parents.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder.
Some of the symptoms are:
- Problems with social communication and interaction
- restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests
- Language, motor, cognitive and learning delays
- Hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentive behavior
- Abnormal sleeping and eating habits
- gastrointestinal problems
- Abnormal moods or emotional reactions
- Anxiety or Excessive Worry
- Absence of fear or increased fear response
The rate of autism without intellectual disability has tripled over the past 16 years, according to a new study published in Pediatrics.
Pediatrics research researchers cited improved awareness of autism, improved diagnostic tools, and an expanded definition of autism as possible reasons.
The most pronounced increases were among wealthy children, suggesting that children in underserved communities do not have the same access to health care resources.
According to Zeidenweber, the most serious warning sign of future cardiometabolic disease is being overweight.
Although he admits this is a complex issue, Zeidenweber says: Parents can typically purchase food for home use and limit access to junk and high-calorie foods. They can choose to buy a Twinkie or an apple. ”
But he says he understands that autism is one of the most difficult conditions to manage and parent.
“Community resources are available through schools, local, state and federal programs, and private businesses. Parents should tap into every resource,” he said.