Autistic Adults & Physical Health

Full paper:
Nothing about us without us
Who: Weir and colleagues
Journal: Autism
Published: 2021
Title: Increased prevalence of non-communicable physical health conditions among autistic adults
Autistic Adults & Physical Health
Autistic people are more likely than non-autistic people to die young, especially females and those with intellectual disabilities. Autistic people are also more likely to have additional chronic health conditions and poor physical health.


The World Health Organisation (2016) reported that 71% of all deaths are caused by four non-contagious diseases: cancer, cardiovascular conditions, respiratory conditions, and diabetes, but it is unclear whether autistic people are more likely to have these conditions.

They made an anonymous online survey, which included the Autism Quotient, questions about daily habits, and questions about personal and family medical histories.

There were 512 questions, which were presented in a tiered structure to prevent survey fatigue.


They got 2,368 responses, which included 1,156 autistic people. The sample was biased towards females, white people, and UK residents.


Compared to non-autistic females, autistic females were more likely to have a cardiovascular condition, twice as likely to have a respiratory condition, nearly three times more likely to have low blood pressure & arrhythmias, and over four times more likely to have prediabetes.

Autistic males were nearly three times more likely to have arrhythmias than non-autistic males.

This is even after controlling for age, ethnicity, education, country of residence, BMI, and substance use.

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