Shock happens when not enough blood and oxygen can get to your organs and tissues. It causes very low blood pressure and may be life threatening. It often happens along with a serious injury.

There are several kinds of shock. Hypovolemic shock happens when you lose a lot of blood or fluids. Causes include internal or external bleeding, dehydration, burns, and severe vomiting and/or diarrhea. Septic shock is caused by infections in the bloodstream. A severe allergic reaction can cause anaphylactic shock. An insect bite or sting might cause it. Cardiogenic shock happens when the heart cannot pump blood effectively. This may happen after a heart attack. Neurogenic shock is caused by damage to the nervous system.

Symptoms of shock include

  • Confusion or lack of alertness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sudden and ongoing rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Pale skin
  • A weak pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Decreased or no urine output
  • Cool hands and feet

Shock is a life-threatening medical emergency and it is important to get help right away. Treatment of shock depends on the cause.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Shock

The following features are indicative of Shock:
  • low blood pressure
  • rapid heart rate
  • low urine output
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness
  • weak pulses
  • cool hands and feet
  • pale skin
  • sweating

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Common Causes of Shock

The following are the most common causes of Shock:
  • trauma
  • heat stroke
  • blood loss
  • an allergic reaction
  • severe burns
  • lack of oxygen and blood flow in the body

Risk Factors for Shock

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Shock:
  • older age
  • history of heart attacks
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • coronary heart disease

Prevention of Shock

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Shock. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid smoking
  • maintain healthy body weight
  • eating less cholesterol and fat in your diet
  • exercise regularly

Occurrence of Shock

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Shock cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Not common between 50K - 500K cases

Common Age Group

Shock can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Shock can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Shock

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Shock:
  • Blood Pressure Test: To determine whether a person has very low blood pressure
  • Electrocardiogram: To detect and record the heart's electrical activity
  • Echocardiography: To identify areas of poor blood flow to the heart
  • Chest X Ray: To diagnose shock and know its cause
  • Cardiac Enzyme Test: To determine the extent of the damage to the heart
  • Coronary Angiography: To measure the pressure inside the heart chambers
  • Pulmonary Artery Catheterization: To check blood pressure in the pulmonary artery
  • Blood Tests: To diagnose cardiogenic shock

Doctor for Diagnosis of Shock

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Shock:
  • Cardiologist

Complications of Shock if untreated

Yes, Shock causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Shock is left untreated:
  • permanent organ damage
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Shock

The following procedures are used to treat Shock:
  • Emergency Life Support: Restores oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain, kidneys, and other organs
  • Intra-aortic balloon pump: Allows the weakened heart muscle to pump as much blood as it can and helps in treating cardiogenic shock
  • Surgery: Restores the blood flow to the heart and the rest of the body and improves the chances of long-term survival

Self-care for Shock

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Shock:
  • Control high blood pressure: Limit salt intake helps in treating hypertension
  • Don't smoke: Lowers the risk of stroke
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Reduces your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels
  • Lower the cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet: Decreases the risk of heart disease
  • Exercise regularly: Helps in improving the overall health of your blood vessels and heart

Patient Support for Treatment of Shock

The following actions may help Shock patients:
  • Join support groups: Provides medical knowledge and care about the disease

Time for Treatment of Shock

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Shock to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Shock.
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