Increased risk of long-term health problems for people with autism
A new study has found that people with autism have a higher likelihood of developing long-term health problems than others.
The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge, means that people with autism have a higher likelihood of developing serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, with unhealthy lifestyle habits suggested as a contributing factor.
The results of the study are published in the journal Molecular autism.
In the first such study, exercise, diet, and sleep patterns were examined as being attributable to the low life expectancy of people with autism, with previous studies hinting that people with autism die between 16 and 35 years younger than the expected average, which has led researchers to believe that poor lifestyle habits are the explanation.
The ripple effect of bad lifestyle habits
To test their hypothesis, the team based at Cambridge’s Autism Research Center developed an anonymous online survey that questioned daily habits, lifestyle choices, personal medical history and family medical history – compiling data of 1,183 autistic adults and 1,203 non-autistic adults. between 16 and 90 years old.
The results showed that the minimum health requirements for exercise, diet and sleep were much less likely to be achieved by adults with autism than adults without autism, with limited diets, eating habits. atypical and sleep disturbances contributing to much larger fluctuations. by weight than non-autistic adults.
The repercussions of these poor lifestyle habits can be serious, with cardiovascular disease such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke all increased in men with autism, indicating that changes to these fashion choices damaging lives could greatly lessen the chances of developing such conditions.
Elizabeth Weir, lead author of the Autism Research Center in Cambridge, said: “These findings help us better understand the experiences of adults with autism and have broader implications for quality of life. We need to understand the reasons for restricted diet, limited exercise, and lack of sleep to provide better support. This may include health education programs and additional mental health support or assisted living and work programs. “
Dr Carrie Allison, director of research strategy at the Center for Research on Autism and member of the research team, said: “The challenges we see in children with autism regarding lifestyle behaviors are extend into adulthood. Given the implications for chronic disease risk and lifespan, it is essential that we work to identify effective strategies to support the health choices of people with autism of all ages.
The implications of these poor lifestyle habits can influence far beyond physical health, with sleeping and eating habits affecting social interactions, further exacerbating the mental health problems of people with autism, potentially disrupting education and employment.
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Center for Research on Autism and team member, said: “The larger picture suggests that adults with autism are vulnerable in a variety of settings, and only so. ‘a new area that we should consider. Seeing that adults with autism are going through a difficult time compared to healthy lifestyles has clear implications for health care and policy: we need to create new and better support systems tailored to the specific needs of people with autism.
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