URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/shock.html

Shock

Summary

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

Start Here

  • Trauma From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)

Diagnosis/Symptoms

Treatments and Therapies

Related Issues

Specific Conditions

Clinical Trials

Children

Teenagers

Patient Handouts