Do People with Autism Really Die at an Earlier Age?

Photo of author


Posted On

Autism is a developmental disorder which means that people with autism are born with an extra chromosome. They also have difficulty processing sensory information, making it difficult for them to interact socially and relying on repetitive behaviors to create stability in their environment. Some people believe the earlier death of those diagnosed with autism might be due at least partly to this difference between how they process what should feel pleasant or unpleasant- leading them towards anxiety, depression and suicide.

The “oldest autistic person” is a question that has been asked for a while. It seems like people with autism die earlier than the average person. However, there are some people who believe that this isn’t true and that it’s just because they don’t have access to the same level of care.


Autism has a significant impact on one’s lifestyle. According to research, the disease may have a role in premature mortality.

Researchers are trying to figure out why a developmental disease like autism might cause people to live shorter lives. Early death may be caused by a mix of hereditary and environmental causes. Anyone living with autism should keep an eye on research outcomes.

For the time being, though, families should be aware that the problem exists. They may collaborate with physicians and therapists to reduce risks as much as possible, allowing those they care about to enjoy long and healthy lives.

What Does the Research Say About Death?

Autism mortality studies include two groups. One is autistic, whereas the other is not. Researchers figure out when and how each group of individuals died. Because these are observational studies, researchers can’t tell why people die young. They can, however, make educated guesses about how long one group will live in comparison to another.

A group of Swedish researchers chose over 27,000 individuals with autism and over 2,000 persons without autism for an observational study in 2016. 0.91 percent of persons without autism died at the conclusion of the research, whereas 2.6 percent of those with autism died.

This research was extraordinary, and it drew a lot of attention to the issue of autism-related early mortality. However, there were few obvious, straightforward explanations to the study’s reasons.

What Are the Risks of Dying Young?

The researchers were adamant about not speculating on mortality. Families of people with autism want to discover what causes them to die young. Knowledge may lead to prevention, which might result in a longer lifespan.

The following are some of the possible reasons of early mortality in persons with autism:

  • Communication is a problem. Some autistic persons may not speak at all, while others have limited language ability. They may be unable to articulate symptoms or physical changes to their family or physicians, which may result in lost chances for assistance. People with autism, for example, have a greater prevalence of seizures. Seizures may be overlooked among patients who can’t speak adequately, according to researchers. This might exacerbate the condition and lead to life-threatening episodes.
  • Accidents that result in death. Autism may cause people to roam or flee from their family, and they are often attracted to pools or huge bodies of water. These outbursts may lead to drowning, which is a “classic cause” of early death in persons with autism, according to experts.
  • Distress in the intestines. According to experts, persons with autism are eight times more likely than their colleagues to develop persistent GI difficulties. Chronic constipation, which may lead to life-threatening issues such as rectum prolapse, affects certain people. A low-fiber diet, which is often favoured by persons with autism, has a role.
  • Suicide. According to researchers, persons with autism who do not have a learning handicap die young from suicide. It is the most common cause of death in this age range. Every person who commits suicide has a unique cause for doing so, but a lack of work options, social connections, and general misunderstanding by peers are likely to compound the risk.
  • Bullying that never stops. Differences are fertile ground for mocking and bullying. According to studies, 68 percent of autistic children are bullied, and 47 percent have been struck by classmates or siblings. Victimization leads to prolonged stress, which may have a negative influence on a person’s physical and mental health. Over time, the impacts intensify.
  • Health issues that lie under the surface. Autism sufferers are, on average, less healthier than their colleagues, according to researchers. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory difficulties are all more common in them than in neurotypical people. All of these illnesses have the potential to cause premature mortality.

These risk factors may interact with one another. A bullied youngster, for example, could consider suicide as a way out. A youngster with heart illness and weak communication abilities, on the other hand, may never reveal chest discomfort or other early warning signals.

What Are the Options for Families?

You can’t modify your loved one’s genetic code by reaching inside their body. There are, however, things you may take to assist mitigate the impact.

According to research, those with weak social and everyday life skills have the greatest chance of dying young. Engage a professional to assist the person you care about in developing these crucial communication and life skills. This might help you avoid disappointments by catching problems early on, when they are simpler to solve.

Select a medical practitioner with autism experience. Make a schedule for frequent physicals and stick to it. Check for common health problems as well as a mental health check. The more yearly appointments you can catch, the better.

Going beyond basic care and seeing a specialist with extensive knowledge with autism might be beneficial. Request a referral from your primary care provider.

Finally, keep a careful check on your autistic loved one. Inquire about the person’s physical and mental well-being. When possible, address bullying at its root.

If necessary, change surroundings to keep the individual safe. You can’t prevent bullying in your community, but you can speak for someone you care about, which may help keep them safe.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Premature Mortality (2016). The British Journal of Psychiatry is a peer-reviewed journal published in the United Kingdom.

Autism Is Linked to Early Death in a Large Swedish Study. (Updated December 2015). Spectrum.

Predictors of Early Death in Autistic People Have Been Discovered in a Study. (Updated April 2019) Spectrum.

Adults on the Autism Spectrum Need Primary Care. In September of 2014, North American Medical Clinics

Autism Spectrum Disorder Patients The average person lives 18 years longer than the average person. (March of this year). Science.

Autism and Health: An Autism Speaks Special Report (2017). Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about

The Three Leading Causes of Autism-Related Death (In April of 2016). The Autism Awareness Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness

Facts about autism and safety. The National Autism Association (NAA) is a non-profit organization

Taking on Autism’s Early Death (October 2016). Autistica.

Predictors of Early Death in Autistic People Have Been Discovered in a Study. (Updated April 2019) Spectrum.

The “does asperger’s affect life expectancy” is a question that has been asked for years. There are many speculations about the answer, but there is no concrete answer yet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average age of death for people with autism?

A: The average age of death for people with autism is between 50 and 60 years old.

What happens to people with autism as they age?

A: People with autism are more likely to develop mental health conditions as they age, and a study published in the journal Autism found that people living with autism were at a greater risk of developing anxiety disorders.

Related Tags

  • autism death rates
  • what is the life expectancy of someone with autism
  • does autism worsen with age
  • can person with high-functioning autism live normal life
  • life of an autistic person

Related Content

Autism Statistics & Rates in 2023 (1 in 36 Children Identified with ASD)

Quick Findings: Copy the embed code below to share the graphic above: <a href=""><img src="" alt="ASD in the US"></a> Year ...

Is ABA Therapy Covered by Medicaid?

ABA therapy is a type of treatment that can help people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is covered by ...

What is the Evolution of Autism Genes?

A new study looks at how autism genes have changed over time, providing insights into the evolution of the condition. ...