Shock

Definition

Shock occurs when inadequate blood flow threatens the function of multiple organs. Shock is a potentially life-threatening condition. The sooner it is treated, the better the outcome. If you suspect someone is in shock, call for medical help right away.

Causes

Some causes of shock include:
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Systemic infection—sepsis
  • Other severe infection
  • Allergic reaction
  • Poisoning
  • Loss of blood volume (hypovolemia)—this can be from severe bleeding or severe dehydration
  • Heatstroke
  • Trauma
  • Severe hypoglycemia
  • Stroke

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of shock include:
  • Pre-existing heart or blood vessel disease
  • Impaired immunity
  • Severe allergies
  • Severe trauma
  • Diabetes

Symptoms

The symptoms of shock depend on the cause.Symptoms may include:
  • Weakness
  • Altered mental status
  • Cool and clammy skin
  • Pale or mottled skin color
  • Decreased urination
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Slow and shallow or rapid and deep breathing
  • Lackluster (dull) eyes
  • Dilated pupils
Symptom of Shock
Dilated and Constricted pupil
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Diagnosis

A physical exam will be done.Tests may include the following:
  • Breathing assessment
  • Blood pressure measurement
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Other testing depending on the cause of shock

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