I know it is deadly dangerous and would put lots of stress on the person. Type 1 diabetes requires treatment with insulin. Is it also physically painful? Let's assume there are also no any other medical treatments.

To explain why such a question has been asked, it is related to the case of Paul Urey, a volunteer British aid worker who has been captured by Russian forces in Ukraine and made some strange sounding declarations afterwards. He later died "from stress" as they now explain.

1 Answer 1


There are a number of variables which introduce quite some variability in the answers; such as the patient tolerance to pain, level of control of the disease, duration of the lack of insulin, etc. As the questions asks about denial of insulin, the symptoms of hyperglycemia are:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Mental and physical fatigue

Prolonged periods in a hyperglycemic state can lead to ketoacidosis, potentially leading to coma. Symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision

It's not a localized pain, but more of a general poor condition related to the physiological state of the patient.

Source 1

Source 2

  • 1
    Yes, I think it's safe to say that while his condition wouldn't have involved much physical pain, the level of discomfort it would cause would equal a pretty significant level of pain.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jul 17, 2022 at 4:09

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