The 12 types of death (explained and classified)

Each culture, religion and even person interprets death in a different way, giving it a different definition and meaning across the world.

However, despite the great diversity of what the idea of ​​death is and how this inevitable final stage of life is experienced, the truth is that one can find different types of death by taking into account two main criteria: legal and organic.

Throughout this article we will find out what types of deaths are based on what caused it and based on what science says about what end of life is. Let’s find out!

    The main types of death

    Since human beings are aware of their existence, it has been so since the end of time. The idea of ​​death has been the subject of debate throughout history, ascribing to it a different causality and meaning depending on the place, culture, religion and philosophy to which it was posed.

    However, in biological terms we can give a concise and brief definition of what this means: death is the end of life, the total inability of the body to maintain the body’s homeostasis through biological processes.

    In the spiritual realm, death is associated with the end of earthly life and the beginning of heavenly life, with an infinite number of beliefs about what comes next. If we ask philosophers what death is, even if everyone has their own opinion of what it is, we all agree that death is the only certainty that a human being has of himself.

    Whatever our idea of ​​death, the truth is that there are different ways in which this phenomenon can occur. The end of life can be given naturally or by the action of an agent external to the person, from a very serious illness to because someone, willfully or unconsciously, ended the life of another individual.

    The different types of death can be classified into two main criteria, the first being that we will see by considering what caused it while the second has to do with what science thinks of this phenomenon.

    Death classes by cause

    Death can be caused by an error in the body, an accident, or because another person has decided to end someone’s life, among other things.

    1. Natural death

    It has almost always been believed that people who reach old age die simply because they have reached a certain age. Since the individual had already lived a long time, sooner or later it was time to leave for the next world. This type of death was called natural death, differentiating it from those that occurred by accident or violence.

    Today we know that all deaths happen for some reason, although we don’t always know it. Let an old person die it’s not because the clock of his life has passed, but there is something in his body that has failed, something totally normal in the elderly whose natural defense mechanisms have deteriorated over time.

    Even if, strictly speaking, no one dies because yes, since everything has a cause, today the term natural death is still used to indicate that the person died of something that did not come from the outside.

      2. Apparent death

      Sometimes, although on very rare occasions, the body momentarily loses all of its vital functions, a phenomenon called catalepsy. Technically, the organism is alive, but it appears not as it has entered a transient state which apparently makes anyone believe the person is dead.. The individual who has entered this curious state can be resuscitated by various medical procedures.

      This, which is now known to be the case, was not known in the past. Due to the lack of sophisticated autopsy techniques and vital function monitoring devices, it happened that after finding that a person showed no signs of life, they were considered dead and the whole procedure began. .

      3. Sudden death

      For some considered a natural death, sudden death is a death in which the individual dies without apparent cause or disease, or who was not suspected of dying in the short term. These types of deaths are characterized by being unexpected and rapid, occurring in infants and also at risk of suffering over forty years.

      In the case of babies, so-called sudden infant death syndrome predominates, the causes of which are unknown, although it is believed that they could be problems in the development of certain vital functions, usually respiratory. In adults, cardiovascular disease predominates as a cause of sudden death.

      Sudden deaths are also considered to be those that occur within the first hour after the onset of the symptom attributed to the cause.

      4. Violent death

      It is considered a violent death when what caused death is completely foreign to the functioning of the body. An external cell phone provoked an action, whether deliberate or not, which ended up causing the death of the victim in a particularly violent manner.

        5. Suicide

        Suicide is the situation in which an individual voluntarily ends his life.

        Those who end their lives in this way usually do so after suffering a lot., suffering from a mental disorder such as depression or in a situation that they think they cannot get out of.

          6. Homicides

          Homicide is the act by which one person deliberately takes another’s life.

          In most countries of the world, this act is considered a very serious crime, the laws being particularly strict with this crime. In fact, it is so serious that there are states where the crime of homicide carries the death penalty, which is nothing more than committing homicide but through legal and institutional means.

            7. Accidental death

            Accidental death is considered to be a situation in which the deceased person died as a result of an event outside their body, but which there was no intention or will on the part of the person who handled this object if there was.

            The causes can be very diverse, such as a collision with the car, poisoning with a food in bad condition or by irresponsible action of another person with any object, vehicle or other.

            8. Assisted suicide

            Assisted suicide is the type of death that it is provided to a person, intentionally and with the necessary knowledge, the means necessary to end life, including advice on lethal doses of, prescribing or providing drugs. It is the patient who voluntarily ends his life.

            Death classes according to medicine

            While death remains a great mystery to everyone in philosophical and spiritual terms, when it comes to science what it involves is pretty clear.

            Death is defined as a situation in which the body no longer performs the physiological processes to keep it alive, although there are several ways to occur taking into account the biological and physiological aspects.

            Either way, all involve absence of the respiratory process, non-cardiac contraction and / or lack of nerve impulses.

            9. Somatic death

            Multicellular organisms, like our species, exist thanks to the multiple chemical and biological reactions that cells perform with each other. In the event that the cells are damaged, either naturally or by the action of a pathology, multisystem failure can occur that would compromise the health of the body as a whole and, if worsened, lead to death.

            In the human case, vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and liver, if damaged, can lead to the death of the person, even instantly with very serious injury or pathology. . Depending on the problem behind death somatic, we are talking about different medical conditions.

            9.1. Syncope

            A syncope is heart failure due to the lack of nerve impulses that should reach this organ. This prevents blood from circulating properly, which reduces blood flow and causes necrosis of the blood vessels and tissues. One condition associated with this problem is acute myocardial infarction.

              9.2. Asthenia

              Asthenia is a medical problem in which blood flow is poor, which can cause different heart diseases.

                9.3. Anemia

                Anemia is a medical condition characterized by a decrease in the amount of blood in the blood, causing heart failure, almost always due to a bleeding wound. The person dies from blood loss.

                9.4. Coma

                Coma begins in the injured braincausing the absence of sending nerve stimuli to the rest of the body, an absolute loss of consciousness and, in the short or long term, the death of those affected. Several diseases can cause coma, including meningitis, encephalitis, endocranial hypertension and stroke.

                10. Necrosis

                It’s about the death of a cell or a whole because they have been attacked by pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, viruses or any type of foreign body.

                The attacked areas eventually break down and can be the focus of more infections throughout the body as pathogens grow and travel to the rest of the body.

                11. Necrobiosis

                Necrobiosis is programmed cell death and, therefore, it is a natural process which should not be a problem except when caused by the action of some kind of external or internal factor, such as pathology, activation of a gene, or by microbiological action.

                12. Clinical death

                Clinical death is generally defined as that kind of death in which the person stopped sending nerve impulses on their own. It is possible to keep it alive by means of mechanical equipment that maintains the most basic homeostatic functions, although the person is likely to remain in a coma.

                Bibliographical references

                • Formation of Tanats (2017). Classification of the type of death.
                • Buenos Aires Nursing (2018). What types of death exist scientifically? Buenos Aires Nursing. Retrieved from:
                • SAKœhler. “Chapter 7 – Investigation of the death.” Forensic epidemiology: principles and practice. doi: 10.1016 / B978-0-12-404584-2.00007-0

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