How long can he live without eating?

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RE: How long can he live without eating?

by rosaflor on Mon Jul 19, 2010 03:04 AM

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Our Hospice nurses told me that people usually die about two weeks after they stop eating and that not wanting to eat shows that the body is shutting down and metabolism is changing.  They said not to urge him (my husband) to eat but to offer light food and liquids only if he wants them. In my experience so far this means he might drink about 1/4  glass of milk or half a  cup of broth and just that little bit triggers  violent diarrhea (with incontinence) so the body doesn't seem interested in digesting anything. I can see the life processes shutting down and he is  so so so tired.

RE: How long can he live without eating?

by elain on Thu Dec 09, 2010 03:47 AM

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My husband has lung cancer and his appetite has been non-existant for the last few months but up until recently he was able to manage rice pudding (home made), a small bowl of soup but now he gets nauseated just looking at them!  If I cook anything the smell of it cooking makes him nauseous.  He will manage a Boost or Ensure but won't have one every day; I make them with fruit, yogurts and even ice cream!  He has lost a LOT of weight this past 4 weeks and I am at a loss foodwise now.  I will add when he was first diagnosed he was given 2 to 6 months - that was almost 2 years ago I am happy to say, but now things are happening quickly.  One thing he will drink occasionly is Carnation Instant Breakfast and it has some nourishment. After reading your letter I realize this is part of the upcoming process of his life coming to the end.  He isn't the least bit depressed, always smiles but he is SOOO thin! 

RE: How long can he live without eating?

by madlisee on Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:44 PM

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I realize this is an older post but wanted to put some better information.  Patients in active dying can go usually 1-2 weeks with food or water.  It takes little to no food or water to sustain them and the body will cannibalize existing fluids in the tissues.  Our hospice nurse the longest she had seen was 32 days because all that was functioning was heart and lungs.  My father in law is in hospice now, on day 12 with no food or water.  Hospice will not administer IV's because it will flood the lungs and cause death faster, food causes cramping in the bowels and a lot of pain.  He's not starving, he just sleeps deeper and longer every day.

RE: How long can he live without eating?

by stu46 on Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:53 PM

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Hi. do not give him milk or milk products, if the broth contains fat dont give him that either, I am prone to IBS so I know what irritates the intestines/bowel.

Try thin oatmeal porridge (water no milk) with honey, and maybe a glass of hot water with two teaspoons of honey and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, if he can drink that add a little lemon juice, perhaps thin tomatoe soup, try different things but avoid milk and fats

RE: How long can he live without eating?

by KaylainTx on Wed Feb 02, 2011 09:40 PM

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my brother was in a coma (traumatic brain injury) when he passed away.   He went 8 1/2 days without any IV's or nutritional support.  

If you start seeing purplish red streaks up the legs and arms,  that's a sign that death is near.

Can you call hospice??   There is so much they can do to  make him comfortable.

I'm very sorry for your family.   Will say a prayer for him (and you)

RE: How long can he live without eating?

by cincomas on Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:06 PM

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Unfortunatey my Mom is dying from pancreatic cancer.  She was diagnosed 7-17-10.  She stopped eating 19 days ago.  Hospice comes everyday...and for the last 7 days they prepared me for her to pass in 24 hours.  Her BP is 140/60, still has urine output and daily BM's. She is strong like Mule...but i have to admit i am sooooo tired.

RE: How long can he live without eating?

by lifefan on Thu May 24, 2012 12:57 PM

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We received my mother-in-law's diagnosis of stage 4b pancreatic cancer on 27 April; doctors said either 1-3 months or maybe 3-6.  Yesterday hospice said we were transitioning to hours or days.  

We're struggling through this, and not experts -- but we've had hospice help (guidance and support) for 4 weeks now.  You do the best you can -- getting hospice help right away was a really good decision.  They are great professionals - caring - and their humanity is just amazing. 

I googled to find out what happens when someone stops drinking -- brought me to this site -- drinking fluids stopped 40 hours ago for us, BP 80/65 (shouldnt be equal or close to equal), rattled breathing.  Not waking anymore, but pain seems to be managed through meds. She's a tough lady -- hospice is great.  

RE: How long can he live without eating?

by rovers2001 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 08:25 PM

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Hi guys I was just researching this topic and came across this site.While my dad has not got Cancer he is in late stage Alzheimer's.He is in a nursing home and after a recent infection he has stopped eaten and is on An IV.He is getting thinner by the day and hopefully it doesn't go on to long for him.His Sats are at 91 and B/P is normal and kidneys are functioning ok but they still tell us 99% of time patients don't recover from this sadly.Worst of it is we only lost my mum at end of February sadly.I still cling to the hope he may pull through but am I wrong?
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