New research reveals that people are more likely to die on their birthdays than any other day.
Swiss scientists suggest that death's preference for birthdays could be blamed on the anniversary reaction hypothesis or "birthday blues" with stress playing a significant role. Other causes of birthday deaths include heart attacks, stroke, cancer, falls and suicide.
Swiss scientists, reporting in the e Annals of Epidemiology, found after analyzing deaths of 2.4 million people over a 40-year period that people were 13.8 percent more likely to die on their birthdays compared to any other day of the year.
The new study also found that the likelihood of someone dying on their birthday also increased with age, with the probability rising to 18 percent in people over the age of 60.
The findings also reveal that people were 18.6 percent more likely to get a heart attack, 21.5 percent more likely of getting a stroke, and 10.8 per cent more likely to die of cancer on their birthdays.
Researchers also found that, among men, there was a 34.9 percent increase in suicides, a 28.5 percent increase in accidental deaths and 44 percent rise in deaths from falls on birthdays.
"We concluded that birthdays end lethally more frequently than might be expected,'' said lead author Dr. Vladeta Ajdacic-Gross, according The Independent.
Dr. Lewis Halsey, a senior lecturer in environmental physiology at the University of Roehampton said that the latest findings were interesting, especially that suicides happen more on birthdays, but only for men, according to The Independent.
"The authors suggest that this increase could be related to more alcohol being drunk on birthdays. But perhaps men are more likely to make a statement about their unhappiness when they think people will be taking more notice of them," Halsey said. "Or perhaps women feel that it is unfair on others who might be celebrating with them to put them through dealing with their suicide."
Researchers had previously supported the "postponement theory" that people were more likely to die on days just after their birthday as the thought of reaching the milestone would help them hang on for longer.
However, scientists from the latest study said that the newest findings challenge the existing "postponement theory" and support the "anniversary reaction" theory, that stress on a birthday or the" birthday blues" is sometimes fatal.
"It seems to be a valid finding," said psychologist and Professor Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, according to The Telegraph.
"There are two camps - one is the camp that suggests you eat too much and your getting on a bit and that causes you to die," Wiseman said. "The other is a placebo effect. You are knife-edged on death. And you kept yourself going until your birthday. You think 'that's it I've had enough I'm out of here'."