What causes people to die of old age diseases in their 30s and 40s

Patrice O’Neal died at about 41 from a stroke. That is about the age nate dogg died. What causes this? That is a loss of almost 40 years of life expectancy compared to what you’d expect.

I was reading up on Patrice, he said at age 22 he had blurry vision, and his blood sugar got tested and read over 500.a 22 year old with sugars that high is insane. There has to be some massive genetic component to that. I have no idea about nate doggs health but I’d assume things like severe diabetes and hypertension played a role.

What would cause someone to die at 40 from a disease associated with death at 70 or 80?

Imagine you’ve got a car with a hole in the gas fill pipe. The hole leaks gas out into the trunk if you fill it too much, and vapor gets into the trunk whether you overfill it or not. Sometimes, if you let the gas in the trunk get too high, it can spill out into the passenger compartment and you get gas in the passenger area. You also get fumes in the passenger area in any case, just not as much as in the trunk.

Assuming there’s no way to fix the hole in the fill pipe, you have a few choices: Do you keep it running on empty so you don’t risk overfilling it? Do you fill the trunk with cement so there’s nowhere for the overflow to go (this impacts your gas mileage and handling…). Do you drive with the windows open, particularly just after you fill the tank? Do you smoke in the car?

Some people are luckier than others. Some people make better choices than others, but it’s mostly luck.

yeah, probably DNA.

It’s not unusual for black people to walk around with uncontrolled high blood pressure. Same thing applies to Type II diabetes. This is mostly attributable to bad diets and poverty (carbs are cheaper than fruits and vegetables). Then there is a general reluctance to trust medical professionals.

Most “old age” diseases are due to parts of the body wearing out to the point of failure. As you get older, tissues get weaker and systems start to degrade, which make things like strokes more likely, but they can happen at any time, and do, even for otherwise healthy people. Sometimes there are known genetic factors, but sometimes we really have no idea what caused it.

Sure, having high blood pressure makes a stroke more likely, but some people are just unlucky and have a weak spot in some cranial blood vessel wall. Kids get cancer and have strokes as well, just not as often.

I think genetics has a lot to do with it. I’ve had two friends die in their 50s; both had family histories of male members keeling over at an early age. Both of them had lived longer than any of their brothers, but still died early on.

As told to me by a doctor (paraphrased):

“Yes, if you have poor habits as regards diet, exercise, smoking, etc. then your DNA will have a lot to say about how long you live and what you die of. If your habits are basically good, you don’t need nearly as much genetic help to lead a long & healthy life.”

According to this study, lifestyle doesn’t influence mortality until you are in your 60s.

A 65 year old who smokes, drinks too much, doesn’t exercise and eats poorly has about the same 10 year survival rates as a 75 year old who does do all those things right. Among people 45-55 lifestyle had very little impact on mortality. They state lifestyle has little impact on mortality up until age 65. I have no idea about morbidity (non-fatal heart attacks, non-fatal diabetic complications, chronic pain, disability), I would assume lifestyle is a big factor in morbidity in your 40s (and possibly your 30s) onward but for the purposes of mortality I don’t think lifestyle is a factor for people in their 40s.

So the people I’m thinking about who die in their early 40s must have something else wrong. Terrible genetics, uncontrolled disease, serious drug use, etc.

Patrice O’Neal said he switched to veganism and juicing, plus I’m assuming he was under medical care. No idea about Nate Dogg. But I’m not sure if these people died due to terrible genetics, terrible genetics combined with drug use (severe hypertension combined with crack use as an example) or what.

According to this study lifelong treatment of a diastolic blood pressure of 110 only adds about 2-12 months of life expectancy. The people in the OP lost 30+ years of life expectancy.

Diabetes usually doesn’t happen before age 40, even if it does it should be mild by that age as diabetes progresses with age. So a few years of mild diabetes wouldn’t explain it either.

So I don’t agree these are normal disorders, they can’t explain the loss of 30-40 years of life expectancy. Lifestyle and lack of preventative medicine can’t explain this happening.

Wasn’t this covered quite well back in the 80’s?

“Life’s a bitch, then you die”

In the 70’s it was simpler: Karma

We ain’'t close to nailing down every damned thing that can go wrong is an organism as complex as Homo Sapiens - might as well create deities to credit/blame; or moral codes to break and be justly punished by Fate (aka Karma).

I’ve got a couple of maladies: one won’t kill, but just make life miserable; the other can kill, but we are good at fixing it (life is also miserable, but it is no longer a death sentence).

I have a BIL from a well-educated middle to upper-middle class family - fruits and veggies were not a problem. He developed type II diabetes around age 50.

Well you are right there, that is CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY. Most people would be in a diabetic coma at that point.

Sometimes people die young. Sometimes they do things correctly and they *still *die young.

Shitty things happen to good people.

Humans like to rationalize why. The why is that the world is random and sometimes cruel.

I really don’t know who the people referred to in the OP are, but just a couple of points:

First, uncontrolled Type II diabetes can be just a serious as Type I. A blood sugar of 500 is high but not impossible with Type II. While weight is a major factor in Type II it is not the only one and it can be seen in people of normal weight. There are genetic components that make a person more vulnerable to diabetes and can result in a person developing the disease at a younger age or lower weight than would normally be expected.

Second, although strokes are associated with old age they can actually occur at any age. Back when I worked at a health clinic we saw a couple people who had had strokes before they were born, in the womb. There are a lot of things that can cause strokes that young, among them genetic clotting disorders that significantly increase one’s risk of stroke.

So, yes, it can be bad genes, it can be bad lifestyle. If you have both you can have problems normally associated with someone 80 years old in your 20’s.

Stroke is a name for a bundle of effects not a specific disease process, like, say, TB.

An Arteriovenous malformation, for example, is a structural weakness independent of genes or lifestyle that can lay you out at any age.


The last time I saw Patrice O’Neal before his death was at an Comedy Central roast (I think for Flava Flave). Nearly every other comedian ragged him about his weight and encroaching diabetes. Uncontrolled Diabetes will kill you, hell even controlled Diabetes will kill you ask Isaac Hayes.

shrug Sometimes people just lose the health lottery.

I have a metabolic disorder (a fairly common one as these things go) that causes both high blood pressure and high blood sugar that can be difficult to control even with perfect lifestyle choices and pharmaceutical intervention. I’m not sayin’ I’m perfectly compliant with the lifestyle my doctor would prefer - but I am more compliant than the average patient, and my blood sugar in particular is only marginally under control. Also, I run the constant, daily risk of a blood pressure spike that’ll trigger a full-on massive stroke, which will be heralded by stone nothing - triggered in error by my malfunctioning body.

My diet is good (although not perfect), I engage in routine exercise (although I need to be better about this - exercise sucks rocks and I hate it so I tend to find excuses not to do it), I am totally compliant with the drug regimen I’m currently prescribed. My body is just not, has never been, and can never be, perfectly functional. The human body is a tremendously complicated system - it does not take a whole lot of error before it fails to function, and it takes even less error for it to function sub-optimally, regardless of how its treated.

Old age diseases are just bodily systems wearing down and breaking down - and for some of us, “wearing down” is a shorter distance than for others.

Shit, Isaac Hayes died? It seemed like yesterday that he was leaving South Park because of the Scientology issue.

Patrice was on the roast of Charlie Sheen. I remember that, and I thought he was being hyperbolic when he said ‘I’m over here dying of diabetes’.

I liked this line though:

“Patrice has always been destined for stardom, and diabetes. So tonight is not just the roast of Charlie Sheen, it’s also a farewell party for Patrice’s foot”

The reason I asked the OP was wondering if a person who isn’t severely genetically defective can die in their 30s and 40s of old age disease, or if you have to really hit the shit lottery in the genetics department for that to happen. Poor lifestyle, drug use, obesity, uncontrolled hypertension, etc. exist in tons of people but very few people die in their 30s and 40s because of it. That study I posted earlier found lifestyle (alcohol, exercise, diet, smoking) didn’t affect mortality until you were in your senior years. And tons of people use drugs w/o stroking out.

Strokes, though less common in young people have never been an impossibility in young people. Besides metabolic causes which can be lifestyle related, arrhythmias can cause clots which can make it to the brain. Apparently there are 4000 strokes in infants in the US every year.