when you die from blood loss, do you feel like you are dying from not being able to breathe? Because your lungs are breathing but you’re not getting oxygen where it needs to go, would it feel something like suffocating?


when you die from blood loss, do you feel like you are dying from not being able to breathe? Because your lungs are breathing but you’re not getting oxygen where it needs to go, would it feel something like suffocating?

In: Biology

I presume that the sensation of breathing just arises from lungs inhaling *something*, not necessarily air. Think about it – you could breathe an odorless, toxic fume like carbon monoxide, and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Until you fall unconscious and die, that is.

When you die from blood loss, you’d lose consciousness long before.

The feeling that makes you gasp for air is *not* due to lack of oxygen: it is due to excess CO2. So even though you’d be lacking oxygen on a whole-body scale, your CO2 levels would theoretically be normal so you wouldn’t feel like you were suffocating.

Most likely, you’d gradually drift into unconsciousness and black out as the brain gets less and less oxygen

The body feels suffocation from CO2 buildup rather than a lack of oxygen, so dying from blood loss wouldn’t cause that feeling because it’s not reacting to a lack of oxygen.

My understanding (as not a medical professional) is blood loss is relatively painless on its own, it makes you sleepy until you just fall asleep and die (if not saved).

Just going to put this suicide prevention hotline number here juuuuuuusssstttt in case 🙂
Probably just a curious mind wondering, but my mom brain can’t help itself.

800-273-8255 can answer more definitively than most as a previous comment mentioned.

However blood loss leads to cold feelings then passing out and ultimately the long sleep.

However we cannot know for sure as those who have died from blood loss cannot share their information with us anymore.

I’ve actually been through this, and you would be unconscious before you died. However, the period up until you pass out – though short – is utterly terrifying.

I nearly passed out after donating blood because I was dehydrated. My ears started to ring, my vision got blurry/delayed/streaky like I was drunk, my muscles got delayed and less coordinated, and my face felt hot. Sorta felt nauseous. Leaning back with a cold towel on my forehead and a big drink of water and sugar/salt helped. It was definitely disturbing and I was glad to have nurses handy to help me get comfortable and get my blood pressure up again.

Two possibilities, inability to maintain blood pressure or hypovolemic shock. It would depend on the rate of blood loss. High rate would likely lower blood pressure (think not enough water in the hose) to the point you could have an arrhythmia (heart malfunction) and brain death in 6 minutes due to no oxygen being pumped to the brain. Lower rate loss leads to Hypovolemic shock Hypo=low, volemic=volume, shock=the inability of blood to perfuse muscle. This means all those important organs (heart, liver) can’t get blood which in turn can’t get oxygen or expel CO2.

The process of exsanguination (death from loss of blood) causes the heart rate to drastically increase in order to effectively pump what blood you have all over the body and most importantly to the brain. At some point, the amount of blood making it to the brain is not enough and you pass out. During this whole process, you become cold and dizzy because not enough blood is circulating around the body. You can feel extremely heavy/weak and, indeed, get short of breath with little feats of exertion.

It depends how quickly you lose consciousness. Many people lose consciousness due to lack of oxygen to their brain fairly quickly following extensive blood loss. There can be a feeling of shortness of breath absolutely. It’s common to see someone dying of blood loss breathing quickly and shallowly or taking guppy breaths.

Source: EMT

I’m by no means an expert, but I’m going to say not exactly. A normal feeling of suffocation is the direct result of the lungs sensing a lack of air (specifically nitrogen). If you’re bleeding out, oxygen isn’t getting to your brain, so you’ll feel symptoms like extreme dizziness and whatnot. But the crushing feeling in your chest would be present only if nitrogen gas wasn’t entering your lungs, as lungs don’t have the ability to sense a lack of oxygen.

No. The sensation you feel when you can’t breath (a sort of burning in the lungs) is a result of CO2 build up in the lungs. As long as you are still breathing, you won’t experience this. You are correct that with significant blood loss, your organs will not be getting the oxygen they need even if you are still physically breathing. You may notice things like tunnel vision, ringing ears, or weird sensations, but nothing like you are suffocating. Within short order, due to lack of oxygen to the brain, you will black out.

I suffered blood loss after the birth of my last son. I had passed out from it. Prior to passing out, My entire body was in pain, like each vein, capillary, artery etc was doing jobs on empty. Breathing was difficult. Blinking was difficult, you feel fear because you’re aware of what’s happening, by no flight or fight response, no adrenalin because there’s not much to pump that through.

The added thing for me was I was haemorrhaging internally, which caused a clot to form inside of me which caused my uterus to think it was a baby and as a result my uterus was still contracting like I was in labour having a baby. Overall it was pure hell, and I now have a new found fear of dying from blood loss.

I had a bleeding ulcer, didn’t recognize the signs, went up a flight of stairs turned the corner though I vividly remember calling out my sister’s name with that oh s*** sound to it.

While laying there on the floor I regained consciousness, but as soon as I sat up I started to lose consciousness again because of the lack of blood flowing through.

Beyond the sudden feeling of going dark, I don’t remember any other ill feelings. I certainly didn’t feel the first pass out, when my head hit an aluminum dog bowl and made a dent in it like you wouldn’t believe.

A very interesting experience.

In relation to OP’s question, it’s likely if you’re going out to do the blood loss that you don’t recognize it or don’t have those kinds of feelings because of the blood loss

Nope the classic burning lung feeling associated with suffocation is the result of a buildup of co2, not the lack of oxygen. You can fill your lungs up with helium and not notice that your suffocating until you start to black out. At least a couple people die from that exact thing every year.

This actually did nearly happen to me (stupidly on my part). I had signed up for a blood draw and forgot to eat before it was time. As I sat there it became more and more difficult to breathe (like you I’m assuming it was from lack of oxygen), i didn’t realize why. Everything was graying out and sounds were becoming dimmer. Another donator noticed I was extremely pale, like absolutely no color, and called the staff over. I had to rest for about an hour and eat before I could leave and of course was told to take it easy. I never really realized just HOW much blood they take from you until I saw the bags, kind of crazy.

No, you don’t feel like you can’t breathe. You feel sleepy because your brain starts to shut down. Your heart slows because it’s the most oxygen consuming organ in the body and without enough oxygen it can’t work. As you drift to sleep, your heart fails, and so do your other organs. By the time this is impactful, you’re already unconscious. You die in your sleep. Other than the “feeling of impending doom” it’s probably one of the most peaceful ways to go.

Better than a pulmonary embolism, which DOES feel like you can’t breathe.

I haven’t suffered from severe blood loss, but I have suffered from severe lack of blood pressure, which I imagine feels similar. It’s incredibly unpleasant; your whole body is just in an uproar about not getting oxygen. You become weak, dizzy and it really just feels like your life is slipping out of your body. I wasn’t in any danger, but it genuinely felt like I was dying.

I have very little blood in my body, and I am always struggling to get a breath, so I’d imagine you would probably just about suffocate.

When I donate blood, I feel cooler and weaker throughout my arm. I think it’d be like that, but where the wound is and slowly creeping outwards until becoming unconscious.