'Coronary' Children; How Firstborns Can Develop Higher Risk of Heart Disease

Article excerpt

Byline: TIM UTTON

FIRSTBORN children run a much higher risk of developing heart disease, according to a study.

Scientists have discovered that eldest children could be up to 60 per cent more likely to suffer from Britain's biggest killer than younger siblings.

And parents could be partly to blame by putting pressure on firstborn children which makes them competitive and aggressive.

Researchers in Italy believe firstborns may have a more ' coronaryprone' personality, called

'type A' by doctors, marked by increased competitiveness.

They studied 348 patients with coronary heart disease and found that first- born children were hugely overrepresented in the group.

Some 46.7 per cent of the patients were eldest children, even though only 29 per cent of people in the general population are firstborn.

That suggests firstborns are up to 60 per cent more likely to suffer with heart disease.

Dr Maurizio Ferratini said: 'After many years of practice, we noticed a prevalence of first- borns among people affected by coronary heart disease.

'Primogeniture, a term for the eldest child, has been considered a possible determinant of various diseases but, to our knowledge, its association with coronary heart disease has never been investigated.' Dr Ferratini, head of the cardiovascular rehabilitation unit of Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi in Milan, added: 'Personality may play a role because of the particular personalities of firstborns and how they develop. …