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ZEPHYRA's avatar

Do you know of anyone who despite being on the wrong side of the fence as regards health risks, hasn't actually suffered anything major?

Asked by ZEPHYRA (16013 points ) June 16th, 2014

This person may be obese, hypertensive and diabetic, yet under medication and effort did not suffer a heart attack or stroke. He/she just lived like that until a fairly oldish age?

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19 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

If it’s a matter of only not having a heart attack or stroke, my father. He lived until just short of his 82nd birthday, very overweight, gout, uncomfortable, unable to sleep well.

But really, his quality of life had declined so much his last fifteen years, his not having had a heart attack or stroke was not the same as not suffering.

Symbeline's avatar

There was my grandpa who lived until 84. All he did his entire life was drink, he had a pacemaker I think in his mid sixties. He was basically falling apart for the last 30 years of his life but just kept on chugging along. I never really knew him, only saw him like twice when I was little, but according to my grandmother, who was divorced from him like 40 years ago, he was a wreck, but he still lived until 84. Although apparently by the end, you couldn’t even understand anything he said. He finally bit the dust when he fell down some stairs, broke some ribs, a shoulder bone and collar bone, was taken to the hospital, caught pneumonia, and that was it then.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@zenvelo exacrtly! The quality of life and fear such a person goes through is equal to a heart attack as poor health just drags on.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@Symbeline so had he not fallen would he possibly have lived a bit longer?

JLeslie's avatar

My aunt has smoked like a chimney forever. She was always thin though. She has health problems that cause her a lot of pain (spine pinching nerve pain, muscle pain) and weakness, she is practically a cripple. She needs daily help in the last few years, but she probably will live into her 70’s at least. She is in her late 60’s and never has had any cancer or lung troubles.

I don’t know anyone who has really abused their body who has skated through.

My dad has been overweight his entire adulthood, usually in the obese category. He never had a heart attack, but he has had heart bipass surgery, one carotid artery tied off and a stent put in an artery. But, his heart is great. Just has “heart disease.” He has high blood pressure now, but he controls it with medication. Basically, all his ailments are silent.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@JLeslie how did dad realize something was amiss with his heart? Did he get a check up?

cheebdragon's avatar

My grandpa smokes 2 packs a day, 1 pack of Winston’s + 1 pack of Marlboro Menthols….he’s been doing this my entire life (I’m 26), and he is just as healthy as ever.

Paradox25's avatar

I know of several people in their 50’s and 60’s who’ve been smoking cannabis most of their lives, and they’re as sharp as ever, and look great for their ages.

Several of my family members have lived to 100, or close, while eating a great deal of food high in fat, sugar and other simple carbs.

My thinking is you can die just by driving, while at work or get diseases eating and living ‘healthy’. Life’s too short not to enjoy it in your own way.

JLeslie's avatar

@ZEPHYRA He became short of breath walking from his car to the building at work. A friend of his who had just had heart bypass surgery encouraged him to go to the doctor. My dad was only 46 at the time, the friend in his 40’s also. Anyway, they did a stress test and wouldn’t let him finish it. Then they did an angiogra, which showed his left main artery (the widowmaker) was over 75% occluded, so they scheduled the surgery.

Years later he went for a regular check up and had been switched to a new doctor because the other one had moved away, or left the service, I don’t know, and the new doctor listened to his neck. He immediately sent my dad for an ultrasound. Long story short they did carotid artery surgery and once inside he was over 90% blocked and they felt it was safer to tie of the side. He is extremely lucky to have that perfect system (I forget what it is called) of movement of blood in his brain from one side to the other. I think his internist really fucked up never listening to his neck before. My dad had bypass at 46, that surgeon had told him since he was so young that means he has to worry about arteries blocking up, because obvious he blocks up young. In fact during the bypass they wanted to use a mammory artery, but it was too blocked so they stuck with using veins.

I don’t know what his symptoms were before the recent stent surgery.

Aster's avatar

Well, I don’t know if mini strokes are major but a close friend of mine, 72, fell down in her kitchen and had many staples in her skull. Months later she had a worse stroke; her legs just buckled underneath her but her husband caught her and she went into the hospital. In her thirties she almost died in Mexico during or after a hysterectomy. She got HepC and a year ago went through many rounds of Interferon. Last year she fell and broke her kneecap in two and there’s a rod in there. Now she’s gambling in Las Vegas and walking the mall .

GloPro's avatar

I know two men who drink like fish and blow quite a bit of cocaine a few times a month. Both are in their mid-40s and have been living this way for 20+ years. Both have recently had full physicals and blood work and are apparently healthy as horses.
I keep waiting for the alcohol to catch up with them. It defies all logic.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

foxo gene, other diet factors and especially stress levels can have dramatic effects.

jca's avatar

@glopro: most people that I know who partied like that didn’t make it to 50. When people do that, their bodies just get to a point where they can’t take it.

Brian1946's avatar

My mother’s aunt was a consistent smoker, at least 40 pounds overweight, and yet she lived from 1894 until 1981.

FlyingWolf's avatar

My dad spent most of his adult life smoking 3–5 packs a day (yes, a day), and polishing off a six pack nightly. He will be 77 in October and is still alive and kicking with no chronic health problems. He has quit smoking and drinking in the past couple of years.

Coloma's avatar

Wow….now I am paranoid about my arteries. haha
@FlyingWolf…well jeez, if your dad made it that far why quit? lol

No, I don’t know anyone that has abused themselves forever and are still alive. My ex BIL just died about 6 weeks ago, he was only 68. Kidney failure from diabetes that was diagnosed in his later 40;s or so. He smoked and needed to lost about 40–50lbs. but it was his kidneys that failed.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@Coloma, I think he finally quit smoking because his wife made him, either that or he got tired if the relentless periodontal disease. He said he quit drinking because he was diagnosed with something called a “fatty liver,” whatever that is. My bet is that realized that his days are numbered and he didn’t want to lower the number any more than he already had.

Symbeline's avatar

@ZEPHYRA Yeah, I think so. From what I gather, he got the pneumonia after being in the hospital, and since his body was so busy trying to fight the broken bones and shit, whatever was left of his immune system just couldn’t stand up to the pneumonia. Although according to my grandmother it was only a matter of time. I said I was amazed that a long time chronic alcoholic like him could go on for so long, and she said that, ironically, the alcohol in his system was probably the only thing keeping him glued up in his last years.

Stinley's avatar

There is some evidence that being overweight (but not severly obese) can have a protective effect – the so-called “obesity paradox.” BMI is not really a good indicator of health risk and the USA’s NHLBI (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) also recommends using the additional marker of waist circumference to help quantify risk.

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