Meta-analyses of dozens of studies have confirmed that people with autism have an increased risk of cardiometabolic abnormalities.
Among the children and adults in the studies analyzed, autism was associated with more likely concomitant:
- Overall diabetes (RR 1.57, 95% CI 1.23-2.01)
- Type 1 diabetes (RR 1.64, 95% CI 1.06-2.54)
- Type 2 diabetes (RR 2.47, 95% CI 1.30-4.70)
- Dyslipidemia (RR 1.69, 95% CI 1.20-2.40)
- Cardiac disease (RR 1.46, 95% CI 1.42-1.50)
However, according to researchers led by Chanaka Kahatudwa, M.D., M.S., Ph.D., Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, there is no significant link between autism and increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke in all age groups. There was not.
In a meta-analysis published in , only children with autism appeared to be at increased risk for diabetes and hypertension. JAMA Pediatrics.
“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. , individuals with autism should be closely monitored,” the authors insisted.
Autism is estimated to affect 1 in 44 children in the United States, according to the CDC, and reported cases have increased steadily over the past two decades. Autism is associated with multiple medical, neurological, and psychiatric comorbidities and premature death.
“Clinicians need to think carefully about how they intervene in health education to empower people with autism,” says Dr Elizabeth Weir of the University of Cambridge. We must also be aware of the real challenges that can pose to maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors.” , United Kingdom, in an accompanying editorial.
“Proper screening for the condition and providing support for healthy lifestyle habits during childhood is essential. To enable people with autism to live healthy, long and fulfilling lives, Early intervention in these areas is essential,” emphasized the editors.
For a meta-analysis, Kahatudwa and colleagues pooled 34 studies, including a total of 276,173 individuals with autism and over 7 million peers without autism (mean age 31.2 years, 47% female). Did.
“Although this study provides important and clinically relevant results, its quality is inherently limited by the quality of the studies that were meta-analyzed,” warned Weir. failed to consider the effects of increasing intellectual ability, body mass index, psychotropic drug use, or age on these results.
She suggested that future research focus on addressing whether these factors help mediate or mitigate the risk of chronic disease in ways that are different for people with autism than for others. She also noted that more work could be done on evidence-based interventions to improve access to health care for people with autism.
One recent study found that people with autism could describe their symptoms and how their pain felt, and understand what clinicians meant when discussing their health. , found that very few people with autism reported being able to understand what was expected of them when they went to see a doctor. Fundamental aspects of healthcare encounters.
“People with autism are also encouraged to allow extra time for appointments, to provide guidance on how to prepare for visits and navigate the health care system, to ensure continuity of care, and to consider alternative forms of communication. (e.g., written or chat-based) to help improve the quality of their healthcare,” Weir said.
Kahathduwa’s group had no disclosures.
Weir acknowledges grants from Cambridge’s Autism Center of Excellence, Queen Anne’s Gate Foundation, Queen’s College, University of Cambridge, Rosetrees Trust, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, John Byron Corbin Charitable Fund, and Charles Slater Foundation. Reported.
See Source: Dhanasekara CS, et al. “Autism Spectrum Disorders and Cardiometabolic Disease Associations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” JAMA Pediatr 2023; DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.5629.
Source Reference: Weir EM, “Autism, Physical Health, and the Need for Reform,” JAMA Pediatr 2023; DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.5639.