15 Signs That You’re Going to Die Early

We’re all going to die someday. However, several signs can indicate whether you’ll die early or live a long, happy life. If the following concerns apply to you, death may arrive sooner than you’d like. For example, if your fingernails look a certain way you may die early (page 10).

1. You’ve broken a lot of bones

x-ray of a broken collarbone

Breaking bones shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. | iStock.com

  • It can be a sign your bone health is decreasing and you’re getting physically weaker.

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.

Next: Are your extremities trying to tell you something?

2. Your joints are often swollen and inflamed

A man dealing with swollen body parts

Inflammation can be a sign of a bigger problem. | iStock.com

  • Your cells could be dying and your body may be actively deteriorating.

There are, of course, many reasons you may experience inflammation. But if your joints, ligaments, or other body parts are chronically swollen, seek medical care.

Next: Losing a loved one is even worse than it seems.

3. Your parents or grandparents passed away early

A coffin about to be lowered at a funeral service

Did you have to attend a funeral or two at a young age? | iStock.com/davidford

  • One influence on your lifespan is whether your parents and grandparents lived long, healthy lives.

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 your genetic hand,” according to many experts.

Next: Breathmints can’t save you from this symptom.

4. You constantly have bad breath

A man uses breath freshener

Chronic bad breath is something that should be checked out. | iStock.com

Of course, it may just be the garlic mashed potatoes you had for dinner, but chronic bad breath can signal serious underlying health problems.

Next: Your nose knows something you don’t.

5. Your sense of smell is poor

A close-up of a nose

A bad sense of smell is not good news. | iStock.com

  • Studies tie the loss of smell to rapidly approaching death.

Our sense of smell is important, but it can fade as we age. In one study, losing the ability to smell was a biomarker in many genetic makeups that vitality was fading and death would occur within five years. It might just be an association, but it’s interesting and quite scary.

Next: Your chances of dying increase 14% with this symptom.

6. You have a small social circle

lonely man looking out the window

Everyone needs friends. | iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

  • Lonely people tend to die at a younger age due to weaker immune systems.

Being around people exposes us to more potential threats, boosting our immunity and building our white blood cell count. If you spend a lot of time alone, your system will weaken. In fact, a new study suggests loneliness can increase your chance of death by 14%.

Next: Are you “losing grip” on your vitality?

7. Your grip strength is weak

a man in office puts fist on the table

Grip strength is a good indication of heart health. | iStock.com

  • Our grip strength can be an indicator of our heart health, among other things.

Oddly enough, grip strength — how hard you can grasp something — can tell doctors whether there are serious underlying issues with our bodies. Grip strength not what it used to be? Make an appointment with your doctor.

Next: Is an oxygen machine in your future?

8. You experience pauses while breathing

A man suffering from sleep apnea

Sleep apnea can be fatal. | iStock.com

  • This is common with people who suffer from sleep apnea, which can be fatal if not handled properly.

If you’ve noticed changes in breathing patterns, it can be a sign that something is off, says WebMD. Specifically, if you or someone you know ceases to breathe for stretches at a time — either while awake or asleep — be warned.

Next: Does it seem like everyone else is speed walking?

9. You lag behind

Mature Couple On Autumn Walk With Labrador

Improving your walking speed could change your life. | Monkeybusinessimage/iStock/Getty Images

  • A slower gait is associated with issues involving your heart and lungs.

You don’t need to walk 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. 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

Fingernails on display

Having unique fingernails is not a good thing. | Fox Photos/Getty Images

  • Odd-looking nails could indicate a problem like liver disease, anemia, heart disease, or a thyroid issue.

Our fingernails can tell us a whole lot about the state of our health. If your nails have spots, strange ridges, discoloration, or are seemingly falling apart, go to a doctor to have them examined.

Next: It’s all about your location.

11. You live in a certain area of the U.S.

A pin stuck in a map

Where you live has a lot to do with your health. | iStock.com

  • Pollution, your commute, and even natural disasters all affect your health.

Your geographic location can have a big impact on your health. If you live in certain parts of the country, for example, you may be more prone to certain cancers or cultural influences.

Next: Is your heart working overtime?

12. Your heart is always racing

A man with a heart rate monitor

A high resting heart rate could indicate to a number of problems. | iStock.com

  • An unusually high resting heart rate could indicate that something’s wrong.

An analysis from the CMAJ ties a resting heart rate of more than 90 bpm to a significantly higher risk of death.

Next: Round might be a shape, but it’s an ominous one.

13. You’re not in great physical shape

An obese man's belly

Take care of your body. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • Many of the most common causes of death (including cancer and heart disease) are closely linked to excess poundage.

Are you out of shape? Consider it a sign that you won’t last long into your golden years. Obesity can absolutely ravage your body.

Next: This one life event can seriously impact your lifespan.

14. You didn’t make it past high school

Young asian woman sitting at table doing assignments in college library.

A quality education is key. | iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

  • Research shows the longer you went to school, or the higher your degree, the longer you’ll live.

Your advanced schooling may mean you make more money and live a less stressful life, or you can afford more nutritious foods. Either way, the link exists.

Next: You’re tempted to nap for the next year.

15. You’re chronically fatigued

Tired businesswoman

Always being tired could point to a faulty metabolism. | iStock.com/Poike

  • You may have chronic fatigue syndrome or a fluctuating metabolism.

There are a lot of reasons why people might be tired all the time, and some can be fatal. If you find you’re always exhausted, you may want to see a doctor.

Next: The one activity that is not-so-slowly killing you.

16. You spend a lot of time sitting

businessman at his desk looking fearfully at a laptop

Sitting all day is far from ideal. | iStock.com/MishaBeliy

  • You’ve heard it before: Sitting is killing you.

If you’re sitting on your butt all day, do some exercises. Buy a standing desk. Figure out ways to incorporate more physical activity into your life.  Sitting around won’t kill you on its own. But letting the health issues compound? That’ll do the trick.

Next: What you put in your mouth — or don’t — speaks volumes.

17. Your appetite has changed

A man eating a bag of chips

Pay attention to a sudden change in eating habits. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

  • 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 Healthwise staff at University of Michigan. This can be a sign of changing metabolism and can play a role in other symptoms on this list, too.

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Additional reporting by Gina Ragusa.