Shock

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:

    • Congestive heart failure
    • Heart attack
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Sepsis—infection of the blood
    • 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

  • 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.

  • 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
      • Blood tests and cultures
      • Electrocardiogram
      • Imaging studies

  • Prevention


    To help reduce your chances of getting shock, take the following steps:

    • Prevent or control heart or vascular disease.
    • Avoid activities that put you at risk of falls or other injuries.
    • Carry an epinephrine pen with you if you have a severe allergy.
    • Manage conditions, such as diabetes, as advised by your doctor.

  • Risk Factors


    The following factors increase your chances of developing shock:

    • 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
    • Low blood pressure
    • Decreased urination
    • Weak and rapid pulse
    • Slow and shallow or rapid and deep breathing
    • Lackluster (dull) eyes
    • Dilated pupils
    • High or low body temperature
    Symptom of Shock
    Dilated and Constricted pupil
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  • Treatment

    Treatment options include the following: