Recent research was undertaken that assesses the correlation between the number of siblings, the relative age, and its contribution in cardiac diseases, both fatal and non-fatal conditions.
Being A Part Of Large Families Makes One More Susceptible To Cardiovascular Diseases
Results of the study imply that individuals born in large families as second or third-born children are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
This is the first study of its kind that draws some correlation between the number of siblings, birth order, and the probability of developing a heart condition at a later stage in life.
Family size and cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular diseases involving heart and blood vessel damage are one of the most prevalent factors causing deaths across the world every year, as stated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Factors like family history, lifestyle preferences, history of smoking, alcoholism, and diet inclination of an individual, constitute the risk factors of coronary heart diseases and stroke.
Cardiovascular diseases are influenced by the genetic makeup and structure of a family, as shown by the latest study, by order of birth, more than the family size.
There were not any studies till now that focused on the role of family structure in the development of non-fatal cardiovascular disease.
The recent study was headed by Prof. Peter Nilsson at Lund University in Sweden.
The study constituted of individuals between the age of 30-58 years and recorded the number of siblings and birth orders. It assessed the frequencies of cardiovascular events over a period of 25 years.
The bridge between family structure and cardiovascular risks
The Swedish Multi-Generation Regester was used by the research team to obtain data on the family structure of individuals involved in the study.
The register contained records of biological parents born after 1931 and alive till 1961, which produced a large data size for the research.
The study collected data from 1.36 million men and 1.32 million women between 30-58 years of age in 1990.
The risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular conditions among these individuals and their mortality rate was studied by collecting data from registers of death and hospital discharges between 1990 and 2015.
Other factors like socioeconomic status, education, marital status, and medical history were also taken into consideration for the study.
Eventually, the research team isolated the other variable factors and only considered the family structure to assess the cardiovascular risk of the individuals.
What did the study show?
Both men and women with at least one sibling were less susceptible to cardiovascular disease than a single child.
Men having two siblings had lesser chances of developing cardiovascular conditions compared to the high susceptibility to cardiovascular disease in individuals having 4 or more siblings.
Coronary disorders were more prevalent in with 3 siblings compared to the ones who did not have any siblings.
In the case of women, those with 3 or more siblings were at higher risk of developing cardiovascular conditions. Those with 2 or more siblings were more susceptible to developing coronary artery complications. Both the observations showed that women with no siblings did not possess any such risk factors.
How birth order impacts heart health?
As shown in the study, fist born individuals were at much lower risk of developing cardiovascular and coronary artery-related complications compared to the later-born children.
However, the firstborn children on growing up posed a higher risk of mortality than the ones born later in the line.
Researchers now believe that extensive study is needed to comprehend the relation between the number of siblings, birth order, and the development of cardiovascular conditions and associated fatality.
As stated by the researchers, future studies should aim to find biological or social factors that may have a bridging effect between the birth order and cardiovascular symptoms.