Prevalence, types and associations of medically unexplained symptoms and signs. A cross-sectional study of 1023 adults with intellectual disabilities

Osugo, M., Morrison, J. , Allan, L., Kinnear, D. and Cooper, S.-A. (2017) Prevalence, types and associations of medically unexplained symptoms and signs. A cross-sectional study of 1023 adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 61(7), pp. 637-642. (doi: 10.1111/jir.12372) (PMID:28295826)

138876.pdf - Accepted Version



Medically unexplained symptoms and signs are common in the general population and can respond to appropriate managements. We aimed to quantify the types and prevalence of unexplained symptoms and signs experienced by adults with ID and to determine the associated factors. In a population-based study, 1023 adults with ID aged 16 and over had a detailed health assessment, which systematically considered symptoms and signs. Descriptive data were generated on their symptoms and signs. Backwards stepwise logistic modelling was undertaken to determine the factors independently associated with the unexplained symptoms. Medically unexplained symptoms and signs were present in 664 (64.9%), 3.8 times higher than in the general population, and 470 (45.9%) had multiple unexplained symptoms or signs. Some were similar to those reported in the general population, such as dyspnoea, dyspepsia, headache, nausea and dizziness. However, others are not commonly reported in the general population, including dysphagia, ataxia, polyuria, oedema and skin rash. Having unexplained symptoms and signs was independently associated with older age, female gender, not having Down syndrome, extent of ID and more GP visits in the last 12 months. It was not associated with living in deprived areas, type of living/support arrangements, number of hospital visit in the last 12 months, smoking, autism, problem behaviours or mental disorders. People with ID have substantial additional unexplained symptoms and signs, some of which are painful or disabling. These findings should inform the content of health checks undertaken for adults with intellectual disabilities, which should not just focus on management of their long-term conditions and health promotion.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cairns, Professor Deborah and Cooper, Professor Sally-Ann and Allan, Mrs Linda and Morrison, Professor Jill
Authors: Osugo, M., Morrison, J., Allan, L., Kinnear, D., and Cooper, S.-A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
ISSN (Online):1365-2788
Published Online:09 March 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley and Sons Ltd
First Published:First published in Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 61(7):637-642
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record