It’s uncomfortable to think about, but sooner or later we’re all going to die. There’s simply no avoiding it. We’re all born with an expiration date, and there’s nothing we can do about it — though there are many things we can do to buy ourselves more time. Lifestyle choices, along with environmental factors, can lead to an early death. And if you want to do what you can to make sure you die later rather than sooner, there are all kinds of changes you can make.
Of course, you could always be killed unexpectedly, whether it’s being struck with a disease or hit by a speeding city bus. It’s best to try and not worry about those very real but relatively remote possibilities and focus on doing what you can to avoid a self-inflicted early death. There are even several signs and signals you can look for to try and gauge whether the reaper is on your trail right now.
How will you die?
2. Gnarly nails
If you were to just take a look at the most com­mon ways people die in modern America, you can probably count on the fact that you’re go­ing to die as a result of heart disease or cancer at some point down the line. And again, you can take steps to lower your odds of that happening starting today. If you’re serious about living a long and healthy life, see if any of these other signs ap­ply to you and your present condition.
If they do, death may come knocking sooner than you’d like.
As we’ve covered previ­ously, our fingernails can tell us a whole lot about the state of our health. If your nails have spots, strange ridges, are discolored, or are seemingly falling apart? You probably have some seri­ous issues to deal with. Take a look at your nails, and go to a doctor with anything that stands out as strange. Weird­ness among our nails can in­dicate much more serious health issues that need to be addressed.
If you want to live well into your 60s, 70s, or beyond, you need to start taking your physical condition se­riously. That means having a BMI that lies within the rec­ommended range — or, not being overweight or obese. Obesity can absolutely rav­age your body in a number of ways, and many of the most common causes of death (in­cluding both 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.
1. Your physical shape
Fingernails on display | Fox Photos/Getty Images
4. Grip strength
Oddly enough, grip strength — you know, how hard you are able to grasp something — has been tied to mortality. Our grip strength can be an indicator of our heart health, among other things, which can tell doctors whether or not there are some serious underlying issues that are tak­ing a toll on our bodies. Grip strength not what it used to be? That may mean there’s something lurking under the surface.
3. A weak sense of smell
Our sense of smell is important for a num­ber of reasons, and as we age, it can start to fade. We’ve all seen older people who have trouble seeing or hearing, and similarly, we can lose our sense of smell. The bad news is that studies have tied the loss of smell to rapid­ly approaching death. In one study, losing our ability to smell was found to be a biomarker in many genetic makeups that vitality was quickly fading, and death imminently within five years.
6. Bad breath
Like ugly finger­nails, bad breath can be a signal that there are some serious underlying health prob­lems. Of course, it may just be the garlic and onion mashed potatoes you had for dinner — but chronic bad breath is a whole other can of worms. Bad breath may indicate someone has a cancer or other infec­tions that can, in fact, kill you.
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5. Educational attainment
How much schooling you have can also give us an idea of how long you’re likely to live. There are a ton of factors baked into this, but research basically shows that the longer you went to school, or the higher the de­gree you have, the longer you’re bound to live. That may mean that you make more money, and live a less stressful life. It may also mean you can afford more nutri­tious foods. Either way, the link exists.