- Seasonal allergens present in infancy may leave you prone to certain conditions
later in life.
- Circadian rhythm and sunlight play an important role in mental health.
For centuries, physicians used astrology as a medical tool that helped
diagnose certain conditions, illnesses and diseases. They believed signs
of the zodiac had
influence over specific body parts, and astrologers believed—without evidence—that the moon caused
insanity. The medical profession has advanced significantly since then
(to say the least) and no longer relies on star charts for diagnosis.
However, there may be some seeds of truth behind the idea that the season
of your birth month could affect your health.
The connection between birth month and disease
Depending on when you were born (winter, spring, summer or fall), you
could have a higher or lower risk for: schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis,
sleep disorders, Type 1 diabetes, heart disease,
bipolar disorder, and allergies, to name a few. For example, experiencing seasonal dust
mites in infancy connects to a significantly increased risk of developing
asthma later in life. Dust mite allergen levels are usually highest between
July and October; therefore people born during these months
have historically higher rates of asthma and allergies.
data scientists at Columbia University have discovered a relationship between birth month and nine types of
heart disease. Their research shows that New Yorkers born in March face the highest
risk of atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, and mitral valve disorder.
What your birth month says about your health
The reasons your birth month correlates to your health have to do with
the complex ways in which human biology is modulated by seasonal changes.
A study in
Current Biologysummarizes the
conditions that have been reliably associated with birth month:
- Alcohol abuse: March – July
- Alzheimer’s disease: January – March
- Autism: March – August
- Bipolar disorder: January – April
- Type 1 (childhood) diabetes: March – June
- Down’s syndrome: June – August
- Eating disorder: February – May
- Epilepsy: January – March
- Glaucoma: April – June
- Multiple sclerosis (Northern Hemisphere): April – June
- Multiple sclerosis (Southern Hemisphere): October – December
- Narcolepsy: February – April
- Parkinson’s Disease: April – June
- Personality disorder: March – May
- Seasonal affective disorder: March – April
- Schizophrenia (Northern Hemisphere): December – January
- Schizophrenia (Southern Hemisphere): June – September
Among the studies of the correlation between various diseases/disorders
and seasons of birth,
a large meta-study conducted in 2003 stands out for finding connections between birth month and mental health.
This meta-study analyzed more than 86 million births from 27 different
parts of the world and concluded that people born in the winter months
have an increased risk for schizophrenia than those born in months with
more daylight hours.
All of this has to do with circadian rhythm, the internal clock that is
central to many life functions. The body’s processes that influence
everything from cell growth and reproduction to the functioning of digestive
tissue, lungs, heart, liver, and patterns of social behavior depend in
part on light — specifically, sunlight. Thus, changes in sunlight
exposure over the course of the year or being born in a month with less
sunlight could affect physical and mental functions, as is observed in
seasonal affective disorder.
However, it is important to not be overwhelmed by these connections. Being
born in a certain month does not mean that you are going to get a certain
disease. Though associations between birth month and disease have been
found, they are not fully understood, and the overall risk is part of
a complicated mix of other variables like family history and lifestyle.
It is also important to get your health information from trusted experts
and not from pseudo-sciences like astrology.
Personalized, preventative care from a skilled doctor is the best way to
safeguard your health. Find the Providence St. Joseph Health doctor that
is right for you using our
online provider directory.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.