Shock is a severe medical condition that can be deadly if not recognized and treated promptly. When in shock, the body does not receive sufficient blood flow, so cells and organs do not get the nutrients or oxygen they need to function. If the condition continues, it can easily lead to organ damage or even death. Therefore, it is important to recognize shock immediately. Healthcare professionals must stay informed and be alert for any signs of shock in a patient. It can be a difficult condition to diagnose, as there are many potential symptoms.
Some common symptoms of shock include:
- Changes in the skin (cool or clammy, pale, or with bluish tinge in extremities like lips and fingernails)
- Rapid breathing or pulse
- Nausea, vomiting, weakness or fatigue, dizziness or fainting
- Changes in the patient's mental state, such as sudden anxiety
The various types of shock can have different origins. Each is named for the source of the condition. Cardiogenic shock is due to heart problems. Hypovolemic shock is the result of low blood volume. Anaphylactic shock is a familiar one, often discussed in the context of severe allergic reactions. Septic shock, also unfortunately a familiar name, is from infections. Neurogenic shock is caused by damage to the nervous system.