The Emergency-Free Home - Types of circulatory shock and their causes

  1. Low-volume shock is a condition brought about by so great a loss of blood or blood plasma that the remaining blood is insufficient to fill the whole circulatory system. The blood loss may occur outside the body, as in a hemorrhage caused by injury to an artery or vein, or the loss may be internal because of the blood loss at the site of a major fracture, burn, or bleeding ulcer. Professional treatment involves replacement of blood loss by transfusion.
  2. Neurogenic shock , manifested by fainting , occurs when the regulating capacity of the nervous system is impaired by severe pain, profound fright, or other overwhelming stimulus. This type of shock is usually relieved by having the victim lie down with his head lower than the rest of his body.
  3. Allergic shock , also called anaphylactic shock , occurs when the functioning of the blood vessels is disturbed by a person's sensitivity to the injection of a particular foreign substance, as in the case of an insect sting or certain medicines.
  4. Septic shock is brought on by infection from certain bacteria that release a poison which affects the proper functioning of the blood vessels.
  5. Cardiac shock can be caused by any circumstance that affects the pumping action of the heart.

Arterial Bleeding


Shock caused by blood loss makes the victim feel restless, thirsty, and cold. He may perspire a great deal, and although his pulse is fast, it is also very weak. His breathing becomes labored and his lips turn blue.

Emergency Treatment

A physician should be called immediately if the onset of shock is suspected. Until medical help is obtained, the following procedures can alleviate some of the symptoms:

1. With a minimum amount of disturbance, arrange the victim so that he is lying on his back with his head somewhat lower than his feet. (Exception: If the victim's breathing is difficult, or if he has suffered a head injury or a stroke, keep his body flat.) Loosen any clothing that may cause constriction, such as a belt, tie, waistband, shoes. Cover him warmly against possible chill, but see that he isn't too hot.

2. If his breathing is weak and shallow, begin mouth-to-mouth respiration.

3. If he is hemorrhaging, try to control bleeding.

4. When appropriate help and transportation facilities are available, quickly move the victim to the nearest hospital or health facility in order to begin resuscitative measures.

5. Do not try to force any food or stimulant into the victim's mouth.

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