If not treated immediately cholera could become fatal. In the most severe cases, the quick loss of huge amounts of body fluids and electrolytes could lead to death within two to three hours.
In less severe cases if not treated immediately people may die of shock and dehydration 18 to 48 hours after the first symptoms of cholera appear.
Shock and severe dehydration are the most devastating complications of cholera there are other problems that could occur:
- Low blood sugar. It is a common complication for children. This happens when the body’s main energy source is extremely low. When cholera is sever people become too ill to eat they don’t get glucose from food and the body is unable to carry out normal glucose absorption. This could lead to low blood sugar levels, which can cause seizures, unconsciousness and even death.
- Low potassium levels. People who have cholera lose large amounts of minerals, including potassium in their stools. Potassium levels that are low interfere with the heart and nerve function and are life-threatening. This is very serious in people whose potassium levels have already been depleted by malnutrition.
- Kidney renal failure. Excess amounts of fluid and waste build up in your body when the kidney loses its filtering ability. This is a potentially life-threatening condition. Kidney failure often accompanies shock in people with cholera.