15 Signs That You’re Going to Die Early
Scarily enough, there’s no guarantee you’ll live a long life. Business Insider reports while the U.S. is getting healthier overall, 21 states face rising death rates for residents between the ages of 20 and 55. If the following concerns apply to you, death may arrive sooner than you’d like. One big sign involves your fingernails (on page 10).
1. Your resting heart rate is above 90 beats per minute
- Aim for a resting heart rate between 60-80 beats per minute.
A CMAJ analysis ties a resting heart rate of more than 90 beats per minute to a significantly higher risk of death. Want to lower your resting heart rate? Go for regular walks, reduce stress, and refrain from smoking. Even just adding more daily exercise can greatly impact your heart rate.
Next: Check your internal thermostat.
2. You feel cold all the time
- Decreased circulation could make your limbs feel cold to the touch.
In the time before someone dies, blood circulation focuses on vital organs. This means your hands, feet, and legs won’t experience the warmth they once did; limbs may look pale, blue, or mottled.
Next: A surprising indicator you’ll die early
3. You’re often bored
- People who are chronically bored lack curiosity, which can age the brain faster.
Nearly 8,000 London civil servants were interviewed in the late ’80s and then again in 2009. The interviewees who reported being very bored were 2.5 times more likely to die of a heart problem than those who hadn’t reported being bored.
As Psychology Today explains, “Boredom might not be the direct culprit.” However, it does indicate that people who were less invested in growing and learning don’t build neuron connections in their brain as much, which is linked with degenerative brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s.
Next: Breath mints can’t save you from this symptom.
4. You constantly have bad breath
- Bad breath may indicate cancer or a serious infection.
It may just be the garlic mashed potatoes you had for dinner, but chronic bad breath can signal serious underlying health problems. If you’ve already made lifestyle changes — like drinking water and brushing your teeth after eating — and bad breath persists, head to the dentist. They’ll be able to tell you if it’s an oral problem or something a doctor should examine.
Next: Your nose knows something you don’t.
5. You’re slowly losing your sense of smell
- Studies tie the loss of smell to five-year mortality.
Our sense of smell can weaken as we age. In one study, losing the ability to smell was a genetic signal that vitality was fading and death would occur within five years. Losing your ability to smell isn’t just a sign that death may be near; it can also indicate Alzheimer’s, another fatal disease.
Next: Your relationship status can impact more than you think.
6. You’re divorced or separated
- One study showed those who were divorced or separated had a 46% higher chance of dying.
While marriage may not be the key to happiness, it turns out if you get divorced or separate from your partner, you may die early. The University of Arizona analyzed divorced/separated folks and married groups and found those in the former category had a 46% greater risk of dying. This is partly because the divorced group was more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, like smoking and neglecting exercise.
Next: Are you “losing grip” on your vitality?
7. Your grip strength is weak
- Your grip strength can measure your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Grip strength — how hard you can grasp something — can indicate underlying body issues. Harvard Health Publishing reports a study showed with each 11-pound decrease in grip strength, there was a 16% higher risk of dying from any cause. Additionally, the same decrease in strength was linked to a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease and a 9% higher risk of dying from stroke.
Next: Is an oxygen machine in your future?
8. You experience pauses in breathing when you sleep
- This is common with people who suffer from sleep apnea, which can lead to cardiac arrest.
If you cease to breathe for stretches at a time — either while awake or asleep — this could indicate sleep apnea. As Dr. Apoor Gami tells WebMD, “The presence and severity of sleep apnea are associated with a significantly increased risk of sudden cardiac death.” The rates of this condition are on the rise, too.
Next: Does it seem like everyone else is speed walking?
9. You lag behind when walking with others
- A slower gait is associated with issues involving your heart and lungs.
You don’t need to move as fast as power-walkers, but pay attention if you consistently fall behind while walking with others. A slower gait is associated with an “increased risk of disability and death,” says Prevention, as this can indicate issues with your heart, lungs, musculoskeletal system, or circulatory system. Try improving your pace by walking for 30 minutes every day.
Next: If your fingernails look like this, you may die early.
10. Your nails look gnarly
- Odd-looking nails could indicate a problem like liver disease, anemia, heart disease, or a thyroid issue.
Don’t ignore your nails if they have spots, strange ridges, discoloration, or seem to fall apart. Pale-colored nails — much paler than other areas of your skin — can indicate liver disease, anemia, or heart disease. And fingernails with a clubbed appearance (which occurs when your fingers swell and your nails grow to fit them) could also suggest kidney or liver disease.
Next: It’s all about your location.
11. You live in a certain area of the U.S.
- Pollution, your commute, and even natural disasters all affect your health.
If you live in certain parts of the country, you may be more prone to certain cancers or cultural influences. In fact, certain U.S. counties are known for their extremely low life expectancies. In parts of Alaska, for example, a third of deaths occur to people under the age of 35.
Next: Are your extremities trying to tell you something?
12. Your joints are often swollen and inflamed
- Your cells could be dying and your body may be actively deteriorating.
You may experience inflammation for many reasons. But when cells die, they cause an inflammatory response to try and repair the tissue. Unfortunately, this response can also result in tissue damage that may lead to life-threatening diseases. If your joints, ligaments, or other body parts are chronically swollen, seek medical care.
Next: Has the bedroom become your best friend?
13. You’re sleeping more than usual
- Two to three months of excessive sleeping may indicate that death is near.
You may need an extra cup of coffee to stay awake sometimes. But, if you’re hitting the hay a lot more than usual, it could signal that death is near. What causes the sleepiness? As your body’s metabolism fails, you’ll lose your natural energy supply, explains Healthline.
Next: Were you careful with your body in your younger years?
14. You’ve broken a lot of bones
- Poor bone health can lead to life-threatening illness later on.
If you broke your arm once, you don’t necessarily need to worry. But if you’re breaking bones consistently after a certain age (say, your mid-40s) this can cascade into other issues like arthritis and limited mobility — the beginning of a downward spiral. Drinking a lot of alcohol, taking certain drugs, or having certain diseases can also increase your risk.
Next: How far did you get with higher education?
15. You didn’t make it past high school
- Research shows the longer you went to school, or the higher your degree, the longer you’ll live.
Studies show those with advanced degrees often have a higher quality of life, which can greatly impact mortality. Your advanced schooling may mean you make more money and live a less stressful life, or you can afford more nutritious foods.
Next: Is the treadmill your enemy?
16. You’re out of breath when you attempt physical activity
- Your fitness score while running on a treadmill could better predict your mortality than your family history.
While some people are more physically inclined than others, how out of breath you get when starting an activity like running can predict your mortality. Researchers analyzed 58,000 fitness tests and found looking at people’s heart rates while on a treadmill more accurately predicted death than studying their family history.
Next: Are you less hungry than usual?
17. Your appetite or bathroom habits are changing
- Many people start eating less than normal when death is near.
Find yourself eating more or less than usual? It may indicate you won’t live much longer, says the University of Michigan Healthwise staff. This can signal a changing metabolism. Additionally, you should pay attention to your bathroom habits. Changing bowel movements can also be a bad sign.
Next: Losing a loved one is even worse than it seems.
18. Your parents or grandparents passed away early
- Your genes may influence how long you live by up to 25%.
Dr. Sharad P. Paul told Prevention, “We now know that for humans, genes have a 25% influence on longevity.” The good news: Genes don’t account for 75% of the factors influencing your lifespan. You have the power to “alter the genetic hand” you’re dealt, according to many experts. And that means maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more important than ever.
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Additional reporting by Gina Ragusa.
Additional reporting by Lauren Weiler.