Tony Stark created the Iron Man armor too keep himself alive, but seeing how he doesn't wear the armor all the time how does he keep himself alive when not wearing the armor?
What Keeps Iron Man Alive
Originally in the comics, the first chest piece he wore in the comics kept the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him, he would have to recharge this chest piece to keep himself from dying. He would spend years modifying this chest piece until medical science caught up with him and he was able to get the shrapnel out of his chest. After this he lived like a normal person, didn't need anything to keep himself alive. But in recent comics, Tony Stark erased his mind, more importantly he erased the part of his mind that told his body to breath, so he was basically brain dead. After his mind was rebooted, and an Arc Reactor was placed in his chest once more, but this chest piece is connected to his brain and told his body to breath and live.
Originally he wore the chest peace back in the 60's. Eventually they had the stuff removed and it was covered with artificial skin in Iron Man Volume 1. After that he was fine and they told him in the beginning not to push it too hard, but eventually he was fine. After the Extremis story line he just might be okay, but I cannot tell. But now he has had them out the R/T unit back into him and he uses it not for his heart, but to run his whole body. He runs on batteries and so does the Extremis. Does that help?
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