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Common Medical Conditions in Autistic Adults - An Overview

Some medical issues appear in autistic people more often than in the general population.

Health needs change for everyone as they get older and it’s no different for autistic people, but understanding and approaching the aging process can look a little different for autistic adults. Some medical conditions occur more frequently in autistic people and they may also present differently than in their neurotypical people. Medical conditions may often appear in childhood while others might only emerge later in life. They often occur jointly with other health conditions and are often referred to as “co-occuring” or “co-morbid” conditions.

Mental health conditions

Mental health issues are common in people with autism, with up to 80% experiencing some mental health condition. They can include:

  • ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Irritability

Physical conditions

Many physical conditions, including heart and lung conditions and diabetes, are more common in adults with autism. Other common physical conditions may include:

  • Neurological issues

    • Migraine headaches

    • Seizures

    • Sleep problems

  • Stomach and digestive problems

    • Constipation

    • Acid reflux (GERD)

    • Dietary issues (food allergies and intolerances)

    • Pica

    • Abdominal pain