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Individuals With Autism at Risk for Other Health Conditions

Risk higher compared with the general population even after controlling for smoking, alcohol use, BMI

MONDAY, Sept. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Individuals with autism have increased health risks even when considering lifestyle factors, according to a study published online Sept. 9 in Autism.

Elizabeth Weir, from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted an anonymous, online physical health survey of 2,368 individuals, of whom 1,156 had autism. All participants were aged at least 16 years.

The researchers found that women with autism were more likely to have cardiovascular conditions, respiratory conditions, asthma, low blood pressure, arrhythmias, and prediabetes versus women without autism (odds ratios [ORs], 1.51, 2.02, 2.07, 2.90, 2.94, and 4.34, respectively). Men with autism were more likely to have arrhythmias versus men without autism (OR, 2.98). After adjusting for age, ethnicity, education level, body mass index, smoking, and alcohol use, individuals with autism carried increased risks for these conditions versus the general population.

“We now need to focus on what other biological (e.g., genetic, hormonal, etc.), environmental, lifestyle (e.g., diet, exercise, sleep, etc.) or health care-related factors are contributing to these health disparities,” Weir said in a statement.

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