06/13/2012 05:35 pm ET

Birthdays Carry Higher Death Risk For Older People, Study Suggests

In a strange ironic twist, a new study shows that the day we are born (our birthday) is also the day that carries a higher risk of dying for the elderly.

The study, published in the Annals of Epidemiology, shows that people age 60 and older are 13.8 percent more likely to die on their birthdays than any other day of the year, with that percent risk increasing with age.

The study included 2.4 million people who died over 40 years, according to The Independent.

Women were more likely to die of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease causes on their birthdays, while men were more likely to die from suicide and accidents on their birthdays, the researchers wrote. Cancer was also a major cause of death on birthdays in the study.

Researchers said in the study that the cause for the spike in birthday deaths is less likely to be from people trying to "hang on" until their next birthday -- called "postponement mechanism" -- and more likely to be from an increase of factors like stress that occur on birthdays -- the "anniversary reaction."

For the full report on the study, click on over to The Independent.

Back in 1993, the New York Times reported on a study presented at the meeting of the American College of Cardiology, showing that heart attacks -- particularly in men, and to a lesser extent, women -- are more common on birthdays.

"Emotional stress and overindulgence," could play a part, study researcher Dr. Alan Wilson, of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, told the New York Times. "The sex difference may give us clues about the trigger."