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Swelling in Feet, Coolness in Fingers and Toes, and Mottled Veins Before Death

10 Signs Death Is Near : Page 4

By , Caring.com senior editor
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8. Swelling in the feet and ankles

As the kidneys are less able to process bodily fluids, they can accumulate and get deposited in areas of the body away from the heart, in the feet and ankles especially. These places, and sometimes also the hands, face, or feet, take on a swollen, puffy appearance.

How to respond: Usually no special treatment (such as diuretics) is given when the swelling seems directly related to the dying process. (The swelling is the result of the natural death process, not its cause.)

9. Coolness in the tips of the fingers and toes

In the hours or minutes before death, blood circulation draws back from the periphery of the body to help the vital organs. As this happens, the extremities (hands, feet, fingers, toes) become notably cooler. Nail beds may also look more pale, or bluish.

How to respond: A warm blanket can keep the person comfortable, or he or she may be oblivious. The person may complain about the weight of coverings on the legs, so keep them loose.

 10. Mottled veins

Skin that had been uniformly pale or ashen develops a distinctive pattern of purplish/reddish/bluish mottling as one of the later signs of death approaching. This is the result of reduced blood circulation. It may be seen first on the soles of the feet.

How to respond: No special steps need to be taken.

Note: These general signs of impending death can vary in sequence and combination from person to person. If a person is on life support (respirator, feeding tube), the process dying follows can be different. The signs of death listed here describe a natural dying process.