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  • Buckle up, because today, we're going to find out just how long you can survive.

  • Survive what, you ask?

  • How about EVERYTHING?

  • How long could you survive if absolutely everything went right?

  • Ask Jeanne Calment, who lived from 1875 to 1997 - yes, a shocking 122 years, the longest

  • recorded lifespan for a human being.

  • She claimed to never be ill except for some eye ailments, ate a regular diet including

  • her favorite braised beef, and even enjoyed the occasional wine and cigarette.

  • She was deeply religious and credited God for her long life - but whatever the secrets

  • were to her incredibly long life, she eventually took them with her.

  • But how about the average person?

  • Life expectancy varies around the world - and took a short-lived dive in 2020.

  • But the average life expectancy for a man in the United States is around 78 years - but

  • women live several years longer.

  • This is a high for human history, mostly due to the advances in medical care that's helped

  • people survive many common ailments.

  • But what accounts for that multi-year gap between men and women?

  • Many believe it's not due to the end of life - but the more risky activities men engage

  • in when young, driving down the average.

  • But what if you're all about the tasty stuff?

  • How long could someone survive exclusively on junk food?

  • Well, there's only one way to find out - and few people are willing to put it to the test.

  • Documentarian Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but over-the-top McDonald's meals for a

  • month and saw his health go down the tube - but model Faye Campbell lives on a diet

  • of pizza, cheeseburgers, and takeout and seems largely healthy.

  • Any ill effects may not appear until decades later - unless nutritional deficiencies become

  • a problem.

  • But the odds are that someone could live on a junk food diet for decades.

  • But what about those with one of the deadliest diseases?

  • Cancer.

  • It sounds like a death sentence to many - and some cancers are caught too late or are inoperable.

  • But for those with treatable and common cancers like skin, breast, and prostate, it's possible

  • to use treatment and surgery to put the cancer into remission.

  • While monitoring is necessary to catch it if it starts to come back, it's possible

  • for people to live with their cancer in remission for ten years or more.

  • When you've gotta go, you've gotta go.

  • But what if...you don't?

  • How long can someone survive without having a bowel movement?

  • Most people do it daily - or more, if they've just eaten Taco Bell.

  • Going several days without pooping can be a sign of painful constipation.

  • But the record-holder is a man in England who reportedly refused to use the bathroom

  • for forty-seven days - because he didn't want police to find the drugs he was concealing...up

  • there.

  • By refusing food, he was able to slow his bowels - but long-term this could cause an

  • obstructed bowel that would need surgery.

  • You might think this next item would kill you fast - but you'd be surprised.

  • Radiation poisoning.

  • Invariably fatal above a certain dose, and a horrible way to die - as many in Chernobyl

  • and Fukushima found out.

  • Radiation is measured in a unit called Sieverts, and the threshold that kills fifty percent

  • of people is roughly 3.5 sieverts.

  • Within forty days, half the people exposed will die - but many of them might not make

  • it that long, and those that survive will have long-term health issues.

  • It's one of the most basic elements of life.

  • How long could you survive without food?

  • There's a reason people on a desert island quickly start scrambling for food - starving

  • is horrible.

  • The body starts by absorbing the fat, and then moves onto the available protein in the

  • muscles, as people start wasting away.

  • The average seems to be about twenty-one days before there's not enough resources in the

  • body to sustain life - although if people have consistent access to water, it can be

  • stretched past a month in rare cases.

  • But this food will cut down your lifespan - a lot.

  • How long could you live after eating one of the world's most poisonous mushrooms?

  • Amanita Phalloides doesn't kill like most poisonous things.

  • Also known as the Death Cap, this lethal but benign-looking mushroom kills primarily through

  • slow kidney and liver damage, which leads many people to think they're getting better.

  • And by the time it becomes clear how bad the damage is, it's too late - and the mushroom

  • claims most of its victims within sixteen days.

  • But how long could you go....before you fall asleep permanently?

  • Sleep.

  • It's one of the things that make us human, and even a day without sleep can lead to some

  • serious ill effects.

  • But one teenager pushed the limits of human endurance in 1963.

  • How long can a person go without sleep?

  • The answer, according to one Randy Gardner is eleven days and twenty-five minutes in

  • a sleep experiment.

  • And the young man survived with no ill effects aside from taking an immediate fourteen-hour

  • nap.

  • And while some have claimed to have beaten his record since, the record is no longer

  • officially kept out of concern for the safety of those who try.

  • But one more building block of life is an even more urgent need.

  • For those on a desert island, the most urgent need might not be food - but water.

  • They're surrounded by water, sure - but it's all salt water, which is the opposite

  • of what's needed.

  • How long can someone live without water?

  • That depends on the climate.

  • When it's hot, the body loses liquid through sweat much more quickly, and fatal dehydration

  • can set in after only two days.

  • But in a climate-controlled environment, death by dehydration can take as much as a week.

  • But nothing's more essential than air - and those who can't take it in normally don't

  • last long.

  • How long can someone last without functioning lungs?

  • This is usually the result of a serious illness or injury, and it would have been invariably

  • fatal in the past.

  • Now, transplants are possible, but someone who has both lungs removed would have a very

  • short time to live.

  • The record-holder?

  • A double-lung transplant patient who was kept alive on life support for six days before

  • his transplant.

  • But what about another essential body function?

  • People can hold in their poop for a long time - but things get trickier when it comes to

  • peeing.

  • Your bladder has a limited capacity, and it's usually less than half a day before holding

  • it in becomes painful.

  • This can lead to serious health issues like urinary tract infections and incontinence,

  • but eventually the body will just...go.

  • The only way to prevent this?

  • Not drinking to avoid peeing, at which point the body is likely to expire in four days.

  • We've all done this as a kid - but how much is too much?

  • How long can the body survive upside down?

  • Whether you're working out or just playing around, you know the blood rushes to the head

  • pretty quickly when you're hanging upside down.

  • But for those who have gotten trapped upside down, like those in cave-exploring mishaps,

  • it soon becomes much more dangerous.

  • Blood and liquid build up in the upper half of the body, causing asphyxiation, and the

  • unfortunate hanger-on would die in a little over twenty-four hours.

  • But what about another - more painful - form of hanging around?

  • Crucifixion.

  • One of the most notorious execution methods of all time under the Romans.

  • But how did it actually kill - and how long could someone survive?

  • Victims would be spread out on the cross, in agonizing pain from the nails driven through

  • their wrists.

  • This would force the victim to bear their weight on their chest, compressing their lungs

  • and putting pressure on their heart.

  • Heart and lung failure - not the nails - would be the cause of death in around twenty-four

  • hours.

  • How long could a human survive in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth?

  • Mount Everest.

  • The tallest point on Earth, and above a certain point, it's called the death zone.

  • This is the point where it's impossible for the human body to acclimate to the conditions,

  • and no human life is capable of surviving for long.

  • How long?

  • Estimates are around sixteen hours before the low oxygen levels take their toll and

  • cause a severe risk of a heart attack.

  • There's a reason most climbers reach the summit - and then leave as soon as possible.

  • But what about going below?

  • Buried alive.

  • It's one of the scariest fates imaginable - and has been the subject of many horror

  • movies.

  • But how long could someone actually survive underground?

  • Well, the good news is that you won't die of starvation or thirst waiting to be rescued.

  • The bad news is, you'll be dead long before that - in less than six hours.

  • The constant breathing in a confined space will raise the carbon dioxide level in the

  • coffin massively, and the unfortunate resident will drift off to sleep - forever.

  • Buckle up - because from here the survival times are going to go way down.

  • Cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs, and one of the easiest for rookie drug users

  • to overdose on.

  • It can cause an elevated heart rate, chest pains, tremors, and vomiting - and in high

  • enough concentrations, it can dangerously raise the body temperature and cause respiratory

  • and cardiovascular failure.

  • In these cases, treatment to cool the body and lower the blood pressure is essential

  • - or death could come in only an hour.

  • But for some people, something much more mundane can be even more dangerous.

  • Allergies are common, and most are annoying but harmless - like that sneezing you do every

  • spring.

  • But for those who have severe anaphylaxis, an allergy to a common food or trigger can

  • cause chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and even the closing of the throat.

  • The inability to breathe can cause fatal damage in less than fifteen minutes - which is why

  • many people with severe allergies carry a portable injector of epinephrine to alleviate

  • the symptoms until they get to the hospital.

  • How much can the human body endure at the most extreme conditions?

  • You might think that the biggest problem for the human body at the bottom of the sea would

  • be the lack of oxygen - but it's actually the pressure.

  • Even with an oxygen tank, scuba divers have to be careful about resurfacing too quickly

  • or they'll suffer severe medical issues from depressurizing.

  • But at the bottom of the sea, the human body would only be able to endure a maximum of

  • ten minutes before the extreme pressure crushes them.

  • What about in the deep freeze?

  • Temperatures of negative 30 celsius are very rare, but in cold climates during winter,

  • the weather can get deadly.

  • A human being exposed to temperatures of negative 30 celsius will quickly find themselves affected

  • by hypothermia.

  • They'll become weak and confused and their body will start to shut down.

  • Making it worse, hypothermia can fool the body into thinking it's hot - which may

  • lead confused people to take off their clothes.

  • In these harsh climates, the point of no return can come in less than ten minutes.

  • But what happens when things get bloody?

  • We lose blood all the time - from a little in a paper cut, to a pint or so when we donate

  • blood.

  • We can afford to lose some of our blood, but when an artery gets cut, it can cause a fatal

  • hemorrhage.

  • The blood starts flowing and doesn't stop, and if it's not stanched quickly, it can

  • render the body incapable of pumping blood to the heart effectively.

  • Blood loss of more than forty percent can be fatal - and that can happen in only five

  • minutes if a core artery is cut.

  • But what about without the most essential element of life?

  • Air.

  • We take it in constantly - and without it death can come very quickly.

  • The most common causes of an inability to breathe include choking and drowning, and

  • when the brain is deprived of oxygen, things begin to go wrong very fast.

  • After only a minute, brain damage can occur.

  • After five minutes, severe brain damage is guaranteed and survival is unlikely.

  • That's why the heimlich maneuver and CPR are taught to all first-aid responders - so

  • they can move fast.

  • But ingesting the wrong thing can be even deadlier.

  • Spies around the world have long sought to kill their enemies with poison.

  • But few poisons are more effective than cyanide.

  • While trace amounts of this deadly compound can be found in fruits we eat regularly, a

  • concentrated cyanide pill added to a target's food can be fatal in only three minutes - too

  • quick for an antidote to be applied in most cases.

  • While cyanide gas can kill even faster, it's also more indiscriminate - not great for a

  • spy if you don't want to start a war.

  • Hold on, because things are about to get both hot - and cold.

  • How long could someone survive on the planet Mercury?

  • The little rocky planet is the closest to the sun, and it's a planet of extremes.

  • When facing the sun, the temperature can rise to a burning 425 degrees celsius.

  • On the dark side, it's a bone-chilling negative 125 degrees celsius.

  • Maybe somewhere in the middle there's a small survivable zone - but there's also

  • no atmosphere.

  • All that adds up to any unprotected human on this planet being dead in less than two

  • minutes.

  • This next situation might be a little shocking.

  • How long can someone survive a 120 volt electrical shock?

  • That depends on what happens.

  • Getting shocked by an electrical current is survivable, but only if the person is separated

  • from it quickly.

  • A prolonged shock can quickly stop the heart and lead to a fatal heart attack in only one

  • minute.

  • Getting the person clear is critical, as well as performing CPR if their heart has stopped

  • - but be careful.

  • If the person is being actively shocked, the rescuer might wind up being hit by the same

  • electric current.

  • Get ready - because now we're down to seconds.

  • How long could you survive falling into an active volcano?

  • The lava would burn you alive - a horrible way to go.

  • But don't worry about it, because you won't be alive long enough to feel it.

  • The heat surrounding the lava is so extreme that it would make you burst into flames and

  • die in only thirty seconds - probably dying before you ever hit the lava.

  • It turns out that casually jumping over lava rivers is only something that happens in video

  • games.

  • But what about in the final frontier?

  • Astronauts can survive in space for a long time - because they have their space suits.

  • But if anything goes wrong, death will come quickly.

  • Outer space has no air to breathe and is one giant, deadly vacuum.

  • It will suck the air out of your lungs, cause your organs to rupture, and cause your body

  • to inflate.

  • If that doesn't kill you, the lack of oxygen.

  • Within