People born in April have a 12 per cent chance of developing heart disease, according to a new study conducted by Harvard researchers. For the study, the team compared the link between birthday and heart health in close to 116,000 adults.
Researchers have yet to uncover the reason for this link. Scientists speculate air pollution, changes to diet due to seasons, and exposure to sunlight could be contributing factors. Other studies have also found a link between the month of a person's birth and the risk of premature death.
"The reasons for variations in risk of cardiovascular disease with different birth timings are not well understood, but could include prenatal and early postnatal exposures such as: seasonal fluctuations in nutrition availability, infections and inflammatory causes, climatic temperature, air pollution levels and amount of sunlight available," the authors of the study stated.
November babies have a way better chance of being protected against heart disease, than those babies who are born in May. "Compared with women born in November, we observed higher cardiovascular mortality among those born from March to July, peaking in April, and the lowest among those born in December," Eva Schernhammer, Professor of Epidemiology, told a news portal. Adding, "This study supports that the associations of fetal and early life factors with cardiovascular disease mortality could relate to a small but real seasonal effect of fetal or early life factors in later life."
Schernhammer further explained: "Further investigations are required to confirm current findings and uncover mechanisms of seasonal birth month effect in cardiovascular mortality."
Meanwhile, a Journal of Physiology study revealed a new test could provide information that can help predict the future heart health of babies. "We are excited about these results and the ability it may give clinicians to assess in a new way the hearts of kids who don't show symptoms, who may have underlying heart problems. A good example of this would be kids in Brazil whose mothers were infected with the Zika virus. While they may not have symptoms, they may still actually have important problems with their hearts that we should be addressing,"Martin Frasch, first author on the study, told a news portal.
A recent study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019 warned ultra-processed foods can be damaging to the heart. "Healthy diets play an important role in maintaining a healthy heart and blood vessels,"Zefeng Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a news portal.
Adding, "Eating ultra-processed foods often displaces healthier foods that are rich in nutrients, like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, which are strongly linked to good heart health. In addition, ultra-processed foods are often high in salt, added sugars, saturated fat and other substances associated with increasing the risk of heart disease."