Autism is a developmental disorder that affects behavior, communication and even social relationships and brings about mental retardation. This is apparent in early childhood. The actual cause of the disease is yet to be ascertained. It is hard to predict who is likely to develop and how. World Autism day is observed on April 2 to increase overall awareness about the disease.
While this is on the rise, let us have a look at the possible risk factors:
Family history: Family history is the major risk factor in autism. If there is one child who has this disorder there are high chances of another child being born with it.
Gestational diabetes: Recent studies indicate that gestational diabetes does influence the neural development of a child Even developing diabetes before conceiving also increases the risk of autism in children.
Obesity: Obesity in mothers do increase the risk of developing this disorder. Several researches have proved that children whose mothers are diabetic and obese are more likely to develop this disease.
Premature birth: Premature babies do show lack of interest in surroundings and social skills are comparatively less. They are likely to develop this disorder as different attention patterns are seen in them and do not show much interest in other people.
Air pollution: Those babies who get exposed to air pollution in womb as well as during first year can become autistic.
Viral infections: Certain viral diseases can change the brain structure thereby leading to changes in behavior that is similar to human autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It has no relation to vaccines and is directly linked to viral infections of mother.
Age gap: Maternal age do play an important role in the good health of the child. However recent studies do indicate that father's age as well as the gap between two parents does up the risk of developing this sickness. It indicates that it is higher among children who are born to fathers aged more than fifty. Again the same applicable to mothers who give birth in their forty or above. Again more than ten year age gap between parents also indicate higher risk of having this disease.
Iron deficiency: Low intake of iron in mothers aged above thirty five does increase the risk of autism in kids. Iron is vital for better immunity and brain development. Iron deficiency can lead to autism spectrum disorders.
This is a lifelong health condition and has no permanent cure or treatment. Therefore it is must to identify the risk factors that we could reduce and keep a check on. It is important to diagnose this as early as possible and proper treatment can help the child make major improvements in social and language skills.