death birthdayNew Swiss scientific research brings to light a curious phenomenon. Elderly people tend to die on their birthday more often than any other day of the year.

Researchers, led by sociologist Dr. Vladeta Ajdacic-Gross from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zurich, came to this conclusion after having analyzed data from 2.4 million deaths that occurred in a period of 40 years.

As demonstrated, it is 14% more likely that one dies on his birthday than any other day in the year. The risk increases with age, resulting in the fact that those older than 60 years have 18% more probability to die on the day of their birthday.

Regarding the cause of death on one’s birthday, for the elderly the risk for death from stroke is increased by 21.5%, from heart attack – by 18.6% and from cancer – by 10.8%. Still, men have an increased by about 35% risk of suicide as well as 28,5% risk of accidental death and 44% risk of fatal fall.

The Swiss scientists associate this phenomenon with two reasons. The first, which is less likely, argues that people who are seriously ill struggle to stay alive until their birthday in order to celebrate it. The second explanation, which is completely opposite to the first one, seems to be more persuasive and bears the name “case of anniversary reaction”. It states that many people react negatively to any anniversary and birthday, and therefore feel anxious about it. This stress undermines health and increases the probability of death on that particular day.

The records of hospitals confirm that there are increased emergency admissions of patients with heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems on the days of their birthdays.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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