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Having Autism may be associated with a higher risk of developing diabetes and other cardiometabolic diseases.

Autism may be associated with a higher risk of developing diabetes and other cardiometabolic diseases. An article published in JAMA Pediatrics examined the association between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis were used for this study.

Data Was Collected for Several Cardiometabolic Risk Factors

A total of 34 studies were reviewed, including 276,173 participants with autistism and 7,733,306 participants without autism. Web of Science, ProQuest, Embase, PubMed, Scopus, and Ovid databases were searched from inception through July 31, 2022, without restrictions on publication dates or language. 

Observational or baseline data from interventional studies reporting the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerotic macrovascular diseases were included. Data was collected regarding autistic children and/or autistic adults and matched with data from non-autistic participants with these conditions. At least two independent researchers screened, extracted data, and performed quality assessments. 

Autistic Individuals Had Higher Associated Risks of Diabetes

The autistic participants had a higher associated risk of developing diabetes, dyslipidemia, and heart disease. However, they did not have a higher associated risk of developing hypertension or stroke. 

Primary outcomes were relative risks (RRs) of diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerotic macrovascular disease among autistic individuals. RR of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease were secondary outcomes.

Close Monitoring of Autistic Patients by Healthcare Providers Is Needed

Results suggest that the associated increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases should prompt healthcare providers to more closely monitor autistic patients for potential contributors to and signs of cardiometabolic disease and their complications.

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Dhanasekara, C. S., Ancona, D., Cortes, L., Hu, A., Rimu, A. H., Robohm-Leavitt, C., Payne, D., Wakefield, S. M., Mastergeorge, A. M., & Kahathuduwa, C. N. (2023). Association Between Autism Spectrum Disorders and Cardiometabolic Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr, 177(3), 248-257. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.5629


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