Why people with autism have shorter life expectancies

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Image credit: National Autistic Society

Two recent studies will undoubtedly shock individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These studies show a much earlier age of death in those with ASD as compared with the general population.

One study, published in the American Journal of Public Health in April 2017, finds the life expectancy in the United States of those with ASD to be 36 years old as compared to 72 years old for the general population.  They note that those with ASD are 40 times more likely to die from various injuries.

Most of these are suffocation, asphyxiation, and drowning.

The other study was published by the British Journal of Psychiatry in January 2018.  This was a Swedish study showing similar results but elaborating on other causes of death as well.  This study showed a life expectancy in those with ASD with a cognitive disability (or a learning disability) at 39.5 years versus 70 years.

Related article:  Gender bias: Are we overlooking autism in women and girls?

The leading causes of death in those with ASD in this large study were heart disease, suicide, and epilepsy.

With all of this in mind, if you are a parent of a child or adult with ASD, you should teach water safety and swim lessons.  You should also have a GPS tracker to find your child quickly should they wander off.  To decrease your child’s risk of suicide, seek out mental health professionals early and treat mental health issues as they arise.

Read full, original post: Early Death in Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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