Effects of birth months on rheumatic diseases in South Korea: A nationwide case-control study

Jennifer Lee, Ji Hun Kim, Min Kyung Chung, Mi Sun Park, Seung Ki Kwok, Hyeon Woo Yim, Sung Hwan Park, Ji Hyeon Ju

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4 Scopus citations


Objective Birth month/season impacts the development of certain diseases. However, the effect of birth month/season on the development of rheumatic diseases has not been thoroughly investigated. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine whether birth month/season might affect the development of rheumatic diseases. Methods Birth month patterns of patients with various rheumatic diseases were compared with those of the general population. The dataset included 17,247,458 individuals from the health insurance review and assessment service database of Korea. Results Among 24 rheumatic diseases, the development of Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica, ankylosing spondylitis (AS), gout, and fibromyalgia (FM) was significantly associated with birth month/season. UC and AS were more prevalent in individuals born in February/winter. On the contrary, those who were born in June or July/summer were at a higher risk of gout and FM. Conclusion Seasonal variations in infectious agents, sun exposure, and food ingestion during gestation or early infancy seem to explain the association between birth month/season and development of rheumatic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-419
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Epidemiology
  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Seasonal variation


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