Shock is a state of physical shutdown. Your body enters shock when there is not enough circulating blood. Shock can cause multiple organ failure. It can lead to life-threatening complications, such as heart failure.
There are many types of shock. Major types of shock include:
All forms of shock are life-threatening. Any symptoms of shock should be reported to a medical professional immediately.
Recognizing the symptoms of shock can save your life. These symptoms signal that your body is shutting down. They are a sign that you need to get help immediately.
Call 911 for help if you have any of the symptoms of shock. You may experience one or many of the following:
Anything that affects the flow of blood through the body can cause shock. Some common causes of shock are:
There are four major types of shock. However, each type of shock can be caused by a number of different events.
Anaphylactic shock is a complication of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Allergic reactions occur when your body mistakenly sees a harmless substance as harmful. This causes it to send out antibodies to attack. The symptoms of an allergic reaction are actually caused by your bodyâs response, not by the allergen itself.
Anaphylaxis is usually caused by food allergies or insect bites. A mild reaction may just cause symptoms such as hives or a rash. A major reaction can lead to:
People with severe allergies often carry a device called an EpiPen/Twinject. This is a device that can automatically inject a hormone called epinephrine. It is used to stop an allergic reaction and prevent anaphylactic shock.
Damage to the heart can decrease the blood flow to the body. This can lead to cardiogenic shock.
Common causes of cardiogenic shock are:
This form of shock is brought on by severe blood loss. After blood loss, there is not enough blood to supply the vital organs. This leads to shock.
Sometimes infections cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This can lead to a condition called sepsis (blood poisoning). Septic shock occurs when bacteria and their toxins damage tissues or organs in the body.
Shock can lead to unconsciousness. It can also cause both respiratory and cardiac arrest. If a person goes into shock and becomes unconscious, call 911. Then follow these steps:
If the person is breathing:
If you suspect movement may harm the person, leave him or her lying flat. You should not move someone who has injuries to the:
Apply first aid to any visible wounds.
If the person begins to vomit, turn his or her head sideways. This helps to prevent choking.
However, if the person has an injury to the spine, do not turn his or her head. Instead, stabilize the neck, then roll his or her entire body to the side.
The symptoms of shock are often enough to diagnose the condition. Doctors will also look for:
The first priority is lifesaving treatment. The goal is to get blood circulating through the body again as quickly as possible. Once the person is stable, doctors will then try to diagnose whatever caused the shock. This is often done using imaging and blood tests.
Imaging tests may be used to check for injuries such as:
Such tests include:
Blood tests can look for:
Treatment for shock depends on why the shock occurred. The different types of shock are all treated differently. For example:
A full recovery from shock is possible. However, recovery depends greatly on the length of time the person was in shock. Other factors that determine recovery are:
Shock has a high risk of death. It is critical to call 911 immediately if you find someone experiencing symptoms of shock.
Some forms of shock are preventable. Take the following steps to reduce your risk of developing shock: