Font Size
A
A
A
...
6
...

Shock (cont.)

Shock Symptoms

Shock is defined as abnormal metabolism at the cellular level. Since it is not easy to directly measure cellular problems, the symptoms of shock are indirect measurements of cellular function. Shock is the end stage of all diseases, and symptoms will often be dependant on the underlying cause.

Vital signs

As the patient goes through the various stages of shock, vital signs change. In the early stages, the body tries to compensate by moving fluids around from within cells to the blood stream with an attempt to maintain blood pressure in a normal range. However, there may be a slight rise in the heart rate (tachycardia = tachy or fast + cardia or heart). For example, donating blood. A unit of blood (or about 10% of the bloods volume) is removed, yet the body compensates well, except for a little lightheadedness, which is often resolved by drinking fluids. Another example is exercising and forgetting to drink enough fluids and feeling a little tired at the end of the day.

As the body loses the ability to compensate, the breathing rate gets faster and the tachycardia increases as the body tries to pack as much oxygen onto the remaining red blood cells as possible and deliver them to the cells. Unfortunately, blood pressure starts to drop (hypotension=hypo or low + tension= pressure) as compensation mechanisms fail.

Body function

Cells don't receive enough oxygen and the organs that they comprise begin to fail. All organs may be affected.

  • As the brain is affected, the patient may become confused or lose consciousness (coma).
  • There may be chest pain as the heart itself doesn't get an adequate oxygen supply.
  • Diarrhea may occur as the large intestine becomes irritated due to hypotension.
  • Kidneys may fail and the body may stop producing urine.
  • The skin becomes clammy and pale.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/8/2014
Next Page:
...
6
...

Must Read Articles Related to Shock

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe lung condition caused by trauma, sepsis, pancreatitis, aspiration, drug overdose, and massive blood trans...learn more >>
Insulin Reaction
Insulin Reaction An insulin reaction occurs when an individual with diabetes experiences hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and becomes confused or unconscious. Causes of insulin re...learn more >>
Low Blood Pressure
Low Blood Pressure Low blood pressure (hypotension) may be caused by heart conditions, intravascular fluid complications (dehydration, pneumonia, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding), me...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Shock:

Shock - Treatment

What was the treatment for your shock?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Shock, Distributive »

Shock is defined as a clinical syndrome due to inadequate tissue perfusion that results in end-organ dysfunction.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary