Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Jan 26, 2015 in Personal Injury News
They say that the death rate soars over the holidays, with most people believing that you have a better chance of meeting your demise between Thanksgiving and New Year's than any other time. While it may be true that the suicide rate is highest at the holidays, the chances of dying on your birthday are actually much higher than people realize.
Researchers from Chicago University have just published a new study in the Social Science & Medicine journal, which shows that according to death records many people die on their birthday. The study reveals the details of more than 25 million deaths over a period of fourteen years. Findings are that over 73,000 people passed on their date of birth, a full 7 percent higher than originally thought. The data itself was obtained from public United States records which are held in the Death Master File. This file is kept public to prevent fraud.
The study authors believe that this phenomenon is caused by the fact that on their birthdays, people engage in behavior outside their normal patterns. Such behavior often introduces new risk factors that can lead to death. Much like at the holidays, researchers believe that the suicide rate goes up around birthdays due to depression related to aging. Other reasons for birthday-related deaths include car accidents on the way to celebrations, excess partying which leads to tragic situations, and even DUI-related fatalities.
The report backs up other studies which address the same issue. A recent study out of Switzerland surveyed 2.4 million people and demonstrated that stress-induced situations result in birthday deaths. These fatalities can come not only from suicide but from cancer, strokes, heart failure and even falls. The Swiss study reported that birthdays carry a 14 percent increased risk of fatality over other days, which goes to 18 percent after a person hits the age of 60. Interestingly, the study reports that the increased rate of birthday suicide is only among men. The risk of falling appears to rise within four days before one's birthday.
The Chicago study may be the largest one of its type conducted so far. It seems in lock-step with other studies along the same lines, such as the one out of Switzerland, which reveal startling conclusions. For many, the idea of becoming depressed on the anniversary of one's birth is an alien concept and the idea of suicide from such even more cryptic. However, it is known that these things happen, and the lesson to take home from this study is that the birthdays, while a time of celebration, are also a time to be aware and careful. After all, nobody wants to end their birthday with funeral preparations. If this seems morbid, it may be all the more reason to take care and be sure to engage in those celebrations responsibly.