New Swiss scientific research brings to light a curious phenomenon. Old 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 their birthday than any other day in the year. The risk increases with age, resulting in the fact that those older than 60 years have an 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 a 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 a 28,5% risk of accidental death and a 44% risk of fatal fall.

Why do old people die on their birthday?

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 old 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 elderly patients with heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems on the days of their birthdays.

What exactly is to blame for this weird correlation between old people’s death and their birthday is still unclear.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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