An article in the British Medical Journal says that saxophonists die younger than musicians who specialize in any other instrument. They studied 813 jazz sax players born between 1882 and 1974. They found that half died before they reached the age of 40. This didn’t compare favorably when compared to mortality rates of other musicians. They supposed that it was the circular breathing technique (inhaling through the nose while blowing out of the mouth at the same time) which might reduce blood flow to the heart and brain. They theorized that this could also lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Maybe. But my theory would have to include the heavy drug usage among sax players. Maybe it's the moody, lonesome tones of the sax that pulls them in this direction. Maybe they are killing the pain caused by the inability to play chords.
Being the sax player is like having to always be the boss. It's good to let someone else be the boss every once in a while.