Death rattle: This is what happens to your body 24 hours before you die

As your body nears the end of its life, it goes through various stages of dying. The death rattle is one of these stages, as a person lives for 24 hours after it begins.

Death rattle death body
© SHAME (2011) / Film4
Death rattle death body

Losing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences a person can have. Nothing prepares you for it. As hard as it is to deal with, death is the only thing that is guaranteed in life; after all, it’s the final destination for everyone.

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Dying people and their family members should also be prepared for the typical physical signs that death is near, and it includes a phenomenon called the death rattle.

What is the death rattle?

When a person is nearing death, secretions in the throat or the relaxing of the throat muscles can lead to noisy breathing, called the death rattle.

It is believed to occur in about almost half of people whose end is near. This phenomenon can also occur when the dying person is no longer able to swallow, cough or clear saliva and mucous from their throat. Medical News Today writes:

The sound varies. It may be a crackling, wet noise that is amplified as the person breathes. In other cases, it may sound like a soft moaning with each breath, or a very loud gurgling or snoring.
Getty/ shapecharge

To you, the sound may be unpleasant, but the person making it usually feels no pain or discomfort.

The end is nigh

As difficult as it may be to acknowledge, and whether the dying person knows it or not, the death rattle signals that death is fast approaching. It is estimated that on average, a person usually lives for around 24 hours after the death rattle and the dying process begins.

One study found that the death rattle does not occur for everyone; it was only reported in about 40% of people during the dying phase and in about 35% of people during the last 24 hours of life, Medical News Today reports.

Read more:

This is what can happen to your body two days before you die

This is how your breathing changes right before you die

Sources used:

Medial News Today: Why does a death rattle occur?

Very Well Health: Death Rattle When Someone Is Dying

Rigor mortis: This is what happens in your body after you die Rigor mortis: This is what happens in your body after you die