What Are the Signs That Someone Is in the Final Stages of Life?

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Signs that someone is in the final stages of life include fatigue, pain and appetite changes, particularly if suffering from cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Difficulty breathing may occur, especially as people approach the very end of life.

People in the final stages of life feel exhaustion mentally and physically, states the American Cancer Society. Symptoms that may accompany fatigue or make it worse are nausea, diarrhea and constipation, as well as difficulty breathing, dehydration and anemia. Reducing these symptoms may help provide relief from the fatigue. Some appetite changes that might occur are a loss of desire to eat because food no longer smells or tastes appetizing.

There are several types of pain that people nearing the end of their life feel, such as chronic pain, acute pain and persistent pain, explains the American Cancer Society. Acute pain is sudden and intense but only lasts for a short period of time, while chronic pain ranges in severity and varies in the length of time it lasts. Chronic pain can occur from cancer in the bones or from pressure on the organs or nerves from a tumor. Pain medication such as opioids may relieve these feelings in those in the final stages of life.