How Long Can A Dying Person Not Eat (And Why)?

How Long Can A Dying Person Not Eat (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Few days or Few Weeks

A person whether he is about to die due to some kind of illness or due to old age will lose their sense of hunger and thirst before they die. This is not only common for human beings but the same habit could be seen in animals too like dogs, chimpanzees, and other such kinds of animals.

A dying person will not have the energy level to get up from his/her bed and therefore they do not have the hunger to eat any amount of food. If a person has stopped taking fluids and the person has been bedridden then the person could live for at least a few days.

How Long Can A Dying Person Not Eat

How Long Can A Dying Person Not Eat?

A dying personCould leave eating 10 days before his death
Some people couldLive for more than a few weeks.

At least ten days before a person’s death he/she will stop eating or drinking. In some cases, people die within few days after they stop drinking or eating. On the other hand, some people even survived without eating for several weeks.

There is no exact answer to this question because not everybody’s results will be the same. It could vary for each individual. Whenever a person stops eating or drinking then energy is not entered into that person’s body and therefore they die.

If the person has become old aged then it is common that the person has already become so weak and not eating will not help them last a few days. The organs will fail to work and at last, the death occurs of that person.

This is something which you cannot get rid of because one day or the other everyone has to face this kind of problem. Even when a person is suffering from a disease and he only has a few days/months left in his hand then in the end he will also leave eating and drinking.

If a normal healthy person starves or goes on a hunger strike then he may survive for at least a couple of days. But, when you compare the same thing with a person who is about to die then the person might not last a couple of days.

Why Does It Take That Long For A Dying Person To Not Eat?

Well, there could be different time gaps for different people. But, the normal period is 10 days before the death of the person he/she will stop eating or drinking food. This process is not only common in all human beings but it can be seen in animals too.

It is natural that during the dying stage or process people lose their sense of hunger and thirst. During that period the dying person may not be able to swallow food properly. This is just a sign that the internal systems are beginning to shut down.

When the person stops eating or drinking then the person might suffer from seizures which means that not enough blood is reaching the brain. This way you can understand that death is on the way of that person.

One way that you could help the patient get some kind of relief is that to keep the mouth of the patient moistened. This way the mouth does not get dried up. This process is only to relieve the patient from dry mouth and not to satisfy thirst.

However, if a patient does not want any kind of medical attention then it is their right because you cannot force someone to get the medical needs. One should be able to respect that decision made by anyone.


In the end, however, you live you have to lead a healthy lifestyle. People who indulge themselves in habits that are not good for their health die much faster than a normal person who has no bad habits.

First things first are you need to clear all the smoking habits all at once and maintain a strict diet chart. However, most people are already addicted to smoking and drinking and cannot leave them at once.

This way their health declines and they do not last much longer. The internal organs become damaged and they die finally.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. I never thought about the impact of hydration at the end of life in such a comprehensive way. Thanks for giving me a lot to think about.

    1. Perhaps there should be more information about the specific scenarios that can lead to different outcomes in the dying process.

  2. I’m grateful for the evidence you’ve provided, it’s an added layer of nuance to a difficult subject.

    1. It seems to me the focus on lifestyle at the end is a bit too much. It’s an odd note to end on, no pun intended.

  3. The complexity of the dying process and the variety of outcomes is overwhelming. I’m not sure we can paint with such broad strokes.

  4. I’m not sure I understand the purpose or why this article was written. The information seems so specific and yet so general at the same time.

  5. I find your comparison between humans and animals in this matter to be thought-provoking. I look forward to reading future articles with your insights.

  6. I find the sweeping generalization between differing causes of death to be unwarranted. The claim that a dying person will not have the energy to leave a bed is not always true.

  7. I appreciate the time you took to compile this article. It’s hard to find comprehensive research on subjects such as this and your effort shows.

  8. Thank you for this detailed article which is both informative and enlightening. The length of time a dying person can survive without food has many variables and is hard to predict, but the information I have gained from you will help me understand the process better.

    1. I agree, a really interesting and thought provoking article. It is comforting to know that this is a natural process and can provide solace to those who are losing a loved one.

  9. I’m left with a lot of questions after reading this article, but I appreciate the perspective you have provided.

  10. I have read conflicting information about this subject, but your ability to reference the assertion lends credence to your judicious study. I still remain skeptical however.

    1. I, too, have reservations. The difficulty in making generalizations about the dying process makes me wonder about the utility of such a study.

    2. I am finding it hard to believe a healthy person can only last a couple of days without food. That seems an oddly short time.

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