Shock is a life-threatening medical emergency, and you should seek medical treatment for shock immediately. One of the main symptoms is low blood pressure. You may also feel faint or weak, have a weak or rapid pulse, cold and clammy skin, or shallow, rapid breathing.
Treatment will depend on the cause of the shock being experienced. Tests will be run to determine the cause, IV fluids are usually given, as well as medication to raise blood pressure.
What Is Shock?
Shock will occur when there is an inefficient flow of fluids through the body which is life-threatening. It is often the result of an illness or severe injury. Types of shock include emotional or psychological shock and medical shock.
Emotional or Psychological Shock
Emotional shock can occur after a frightening emotional experience or from being frightened.
Medical shock requires immediate medical assistance and can cause other conditions such as organ damage, heart attack (cardiac arrest), or lack of oxygen in the tissues (hypoxia). Symptoms can progress quickly and immediate treatment for shock is required.
What Are the Different Types of Shock?
This is caused by trauma to the spinal cord and is the most difficult to treat. It is often irreversible and can cause issues with normal regulatory functions in the body. The main treatments are surgery, monitoring and giving fluids, anti-inflammatory medicines such as steroids, and immobilization (keeping the spine from movement).
This is caused by a severe loss of blood or fluids such as from a bad accident or trauma. It causes the heart to be unable to pump enough blood to the body. It can also be due to severe anemia causing a lack of blood to carry oxygen throughout the body. This is treated with blood transfusions in serious cases or fluids such as saline in minor ones.
This is caused by heart damage, the heart is not able to supply sufficient blood throughout the body. A patient who has suffered a heart attack may need cardiac catheterization, a surgical procedure that unblocks the artery. Those who have congestive heart failure may need medication to increase their heartbeat. This is often the end result of congestive heart failure or a heart attack. In severe cases, a heart transplant may be the only solution.
This is an allergic reaction or a severe hypersensitivity. The causes are allergies to foods such as seafood, berries or nuts, medicines, or insect stings. It is treated with steroid medications methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol), epinephrine (EPI-pen), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or H2-Blockers cimetidine (Tagamet) or famotidine (Pepcid).
This is caused by bacteria that multiply and release toxins in the blood. Common reasons for getting septic shock are meningitis, intra-abdominal infections such as from a ruptured appendix, infections of the skin (cellulitis), urinary tract infections, or pneumonia. Patients are often dehydrated and require large amounts of fluids to raise and maintain their blood pressure. It is also treated with antibiotics.
Is There a Need to Seek Medical Treatment for Shock?
If you suspect a person is in shock after an injury immediately call 911 or take them to an emergency center as soon as possible. You can save a person’s life by getting them medical attention immediately. When treatment for shock is done quickly, there is less chance of damage to vital organs. The sooner treatment for shock is done, the better.
Treatment will be different depending on the type of shock. Generally, administering large amounts of fluids is done to raise the blood pressure (fluid resuscitation) with an IV. This is done either in the emergency room or the ambulance and is the first-line treatment for shock for all types. The doctor will then add medications to the fluids to ensure blood is flowing to vital organs and to raise blood pressure. Tests will be done such as EKGs, blood tests, and X-rays to determine the cause of shock and to see if the cause is an underlying illness.
Start CPR if needed
Keep the Person Warm and Comfortable
Shock | Everything You Need to Know
There can be several reasons for shock to occur that include the following:
Rapid heart rate, or tachycardia, and low blood pressure are the main symptoms of shock. The symptoms include the following:
Depending on what type of shock you are experiencing, the following symptoms can be seen:
If you know you have an allergy to something, carry an Epi-pen with you at all times which you can obtain from your doctor with a prescription. Avoid things that cause you to have an allergic reaction. Learn how you can prevent shock by preventing dehydration, injury, and heart disease.
Basic First Aid
You can perform these while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is the most important thing to do in the treatment for shock. If a person’s heart has stopped pumping blood and CPR is not done, they will die. Using an AED, or an automated external defibrillator, or CPR may save their life. It’s best to take a CPR course at a fire department, Red Cross center, community college, or a medical center to learn this procedure. AEDs are available in many businesses and public areas. They don’t require training to use. CPR training will review how to use this device. American Red Cross and American Heart Association recommend doing the following:
Most bleeding will stop on its own, but if it is severe, it could lead to shock or death. Take these steps to control bleeding:
These can be painful and deadly if you are allergic. Use these tips while waiting for assistance:
Seeking prompt treatment for shock is required for the best results. Your results will depend on how fast your treatment for shock was applied, your recovery, your overall health, and the reason for the shock. Spinal shock is the most difficult to treat, as the spinal cord is responsible for many of the body’s important functions. There are few effective treatments but research is making progress in the treatment of these injuries.Cardiogenic shock has a survival rate of 33% because it is the result of dysfunction or injury to the heart. This makes it difficult to treat and recover from. Septic shock has a mortality rate of 24-50%. The faster the infection is treated, the great chance of success. Hospitals are now using specific treatments to identify septic shock and treat them aggressively. Hypovolemic and anaphylactic shock respond well to early medical treatment.
We hope this article has shed light on what shock is and the proper treatment of shock. Remember, if you suspect that you or someone else may be experiencing shock, do not delay – follow this guideline, and seek help immediately.
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