How Much Blood Can You Lose Before You Die

How Much Blood Can You Lose Before You Die

A common question, How Much Blood Can You Lose Before You Die. The circulatory system is a vital part of the human body, with blood being its most essential component. It also comprises blood vessels and the heart, the biological pump that drives blood around the body. But think what would happen when we got an injury and a lot of blood is lost from our body. Learn How Much Blood Can You Lose Before You Die? The sight of blood can be grueling for many people, making them dizzy and unconscious.

However, without blood, we cannot survive as it is blood that transports oxygen to all the vital organs of the body, be it the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, liver, so on and so forth. This oxygen is utilized by cells to produce energy, which is utilized in performing functions vital to the survival of an organism. Blood also acts as a medium for regulating body temperature and carries the waste material to the respective excretory organs for their removal from the body. Without blood, we would, therefore, cease to exist.

How blood clotting works:

Whenever our bodies sustain any injury, the platelets in our blood start forming clots to plug the wound and stop the bleeding. This mechanism is highly efficient and can stop bleeding almost instantaneously. This platelet plug replaces the lost tissue and contributes to wound healing. Without this mechanism comes into play, even minor injuries can prove to be fatal, as happens in the case of Hemophilia. Hemophilia is a hereditary disorder, whereby the blood is unable to clot due to the deficiency of some essential clotting factors.

This occurs because of the deficiency of vitamin K in the body. Vitamin K plays an essential role in the synthesis of clotting factors. The person afflicted with this disorder can bleed profusely, even after a minor injury, and develop internal bleeding, strokes, and hemorrhages.

What happens when you lose blood?

How Much Blood Can You Lose Before You Die

Blood makes about 7 percent of our body weight, with an average adult containing 4.7 to 5.5 liters of blood. Thus, the average amount of blood in a human is 1.2 to 1.5 gallons! Blood loss, technically called hemorrhage, is the loss of blood from a ruptured blood vessel.

This hemorrhage could be external or internal and varies in severity according to the site of damage. When the blood loss is extraneous, we have to How Much Blood Can You Lose Before You Die? It can be easily taken care of, by applying pressure at the site of injury. Scrapes and cuts from sharp objects require only minor cleaning before they heal up, without leaving so much as a scar.

The degree of blood loss varies with the site of injury. When a major blood vessel gets ruptured, heavy bleeding occurs and some major interventions may be required to stop the bleeding. These major blood vessels include jugular vein in the neck, the brachial artery in the armpit, and many branches of the aorta located in the torso. Damage to the femoral artery in the thigh beats all. If left unattended, bleeding from the femoral artery can make a person unconscious within a minute and can cause death in a matter of minutes.

Stages of hypovolemic shock:

Hypovolemia is a condition where there is decreased blood volume, or more specifically, decreased blood plasma. This loss of plasma is accompanied by loss of sodium and other important electrolytes from the body. When this happens, things can go south pretty fast. Hypovolemic shock can result from blood loss, loss of plasma (e.g. in case of severe burns and oozing lesions), and loss of sodium and water due to diarrhea and vomiting.

To assess whether a person is suffering from hypovolemic shock, look out for signs of heavy breathing, increased number of heartbeats, decreased blood pressure and paleness of skin. The person will also feel dizzy, faint, nauseous or thirsty. This condition gets aggravated in children, therefore, even minor signs of hypovolemia should be dealt with aggressively.


Hypovolemic shock can be characterized into four stages that are often referred to as the ‘tennis’ staging of hypovolemia, as the stages of blood loss which tell us How Much Blood Can You Lose Before You Die (15%, 15-30%, 30-40% and 40% loss of volume) resemble the scores of a tennis game.

Stage 1 of hypovolemia is characterized by the paleness of the skin. Other variables like blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, mental status, capillary refill and urine output stay normal. At this stage, there is 15% blood loss. This amount is very insignificant and there are almost no symptoms except, perhaps, feeling slightly faint.

Stage 2 of hypovolemia is marked by 15-30% blood loss. This is equivalent to losing 750-1500 mL of blood. Some of the warning signs that are observed at this stage include increased diastolic blood pressure, slightly elevated heart rate, increased respiratory rate (>20), delayed capillary refill and a urine output of 20-30 mL/h. The person also experiences mild anxiety and restlessness. At this stage, the human body tries to compensate for the loss of body volume.

Are you looking to know How Much Blood Can You Lose Before You Die?

The blood we lose before we die is 1500-2000 mL (30-40%) of blood, he is said to be suffering from stage three of hemorrhaging. The heart rate shoots as the heart struggles to supply oxygen to all tissues, and the person suffers from shortness of breath. Blood transfusions are normally required to compensate for the huge magnitude of blood loss and the blood pressure begins to drop.

At stage 4, the final stage of hypovolemic shock, the person loses more than 40% of the average volume of blood. At this point, the pulse gets extremely weak, the circulatory system fails to supply oxygen to the tissues and the vital organs undergo organ failure. As the brain gets deprived of oxygen, the person slips into a coma, and if sufficient resuscitative care is not provided, the person dies.

How to survive hemorrhage:

The type of interventions that are required will depend on the severity of the hemorrhage. Our body also has many defense mechanisms in place to combat hypovolemia. One of these is vasoconstriction, where our body constricts the blood vessels of the extremities, to redirect blood flow toward the vital organs. These include the heart, brain and the torso. The coagulation system also plays its role by forming blood clots to stop the bleeding.

When a major blood vessel is damaged, pressure should be applied on the affected site with a clean cloth, tissue or a piece of gauze, to decrease blood loss to see How Much Blood Can You Lose Before You Die. If blood soaks this material, do not remove it. Instead, add more cloth or tissue on top of it and continue applying pressure. If a limb is affected, raise it above the level of the heart to slow down bleeding. Rinse the wound with soap and warm water and then apply an antibiotic cream to reduce the risk of infection. Finally, cover it with a sterile bandage. Don’t apply a tourniquet if the bleeding is not too severe and if you don’t know how to apply one. Use one only when all other methods have been exhausted as experts are of the opinion that tourniquet can cause irreversible tissue damage.

Seek medical help if the wound is deep with jagged edges, if it gets infected, if the area around it goes numb or if the bleeding doesn’t stop. Timely diagnosis can help control organ damage and save the life of the affected individual. So, look out for the signs of hemorrhage and immediately consult a doctor.

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