Medical shock is a life-threatening condition which must be treated quickly to maximize chances of survival. But why is shock so dangerous?
CPR training can teach you more than just the steps to cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It can also teach you what to do in cases of shock. While shock has similar symptoms to cardiac arrest, the two conditions are not the same. In fact, a person can experience shock without the heart rhythm ever becoming irregular. One reason medical shock is so dangerous is because the symptoms and causes can vary from patient to patient, making it difficult to recognize.
The good news is the treatment for shock is almost identical to the CPR methods used to treat a cardiac arrest. If you find yourself wondering, “why is shock so dangerous?”, CPR training, you’ll quickly discover, can save lives in more ways than one.
Read on to learn about the symptoms of shock, the different kinds of shock, and the reasons why shock is so dangerous.
What Is Medical Shock?
Shock is the body’s reaction to a sudden drop in blood flow. This bleeding can occur inside or outside of the body, and may even be caused by a drop in blood pressure rather than bleeding itself.
This prevents oxygen from getting to the vital organs, which can lead to organ damage or even death.
What Causes Medical Shock?
Shock is caused by some form of bodily trauma. This could be physical trauma, like a violent car accident or a fall. It could also be internal trauma, such as heatstroke, an allergic reaction, or blood loss. Even other types of trauma can lead to shock, such as severe burns, poisoning, or infection. This is why shock is so dangerous, as it can occur alongside other dangerous situations.
Symptoms of shock are reversible in the early stages and it is important to treat it quickly to limit organ damage.
What Are the Different Kinds of Shock?
There are many kinds of shock, but some of the most common types include:
Cardiogenic shock happens when the heart does not pump as much blood around the body as the body needs. This can occur even if the heart has not gone into cardiac arrest.
Cardiogenic shock has a mortality rate of between 50% and 75%.
If the body loses a significant amount of blood, hypovolemic shock may occur. This blood loss can be external or internal.
The body can also lose too much fluid through burns, diarrhea, or vomiting, all of which can lead to hypovolemic shock.
Yes, that’s right – a severe allergic reaction can, in extreme cases, lead to medical shock.
When a body is exposed to an allergen and has a severe allergic reaction, this is called anaphylaxis. When untreated, anaphylaxis can lead to cardiac arrest or medical shock.
Specifically used to describe shock that results from a spine injury, neurogenic shock happens when nerve damage causes changes in heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure.
Spinal cord injuries can damage the nerves that control how much blood vessels dilate. If they dilate too much, blood pressure can drop, causing shock.
What Are the Symptoms of Shock?
It does not take long for the body’s organs to sustain damage when going through medical shock. The symptoms can vary and not everyone will experience them all, which is why shock can be difficult to identify.
The symptoms of shock may include:
- Cool clammy skin
- Pale or ashen skin
- A gray or bluish tinge to lips or fingernails
- Rapid pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Enlarged pupils
- Dizziness or fainting
Medical shock is so dangerous because not all of these symptoms may be present. Identifying and treating shock as quickly as possible is key to a patient’s survival.
Why Is Shock So Dangerous: CPR Training and Identifying Between Shock and Cardiac Arrest
Shock is caused by loss of blood flow to the organs, which can occur even if the heart is beating normally. In cardiac arrest, however, the heart stops beating normally. A cardiac arrest can lead to shock, but the two conditions are not the same.
However, the effects of shock and cardiac arrest are similar. Both result in less oxygen reaching the vital organs, which can quickly lead to organ failure or death.
Thankfully, if you are CPR trained, you can use the same lifesaving methods to respond to someone experiencing medical shock.
What Should I Do If Someone Is Experiencing Shock?
Shock is not the same as cardiac arrest, but their first aid treatment methods are similar.
- The most important thing to do is to call 911 or the local emergency number to ask for urgent medical help.
- Use the shock position by laying the person on their back and elevate the legs about 12 inches, or 30 centimeters. This will encourage blood away from the legs and towards the vital organs. Only use the shock position if the person is conscious and does not have an injury to the head, neck, or spine.
- You can perform CPR on someone experiencing medical shock. Rescue breathing and CPR may keep the person alive until help arrives.
- Keep the person warm and comfortable and loosen any tight clothing.
Medical shock can be deadly, but performing CPR and calling for medical help gives the person experiencing shock the best chances of survival.
By knowing the symptoms of shock, understanding why shock is so dangerous, and knowing how to react when someone near you experiences it, you are better equipped to act fast and potentially save a person’s life.
Contact us today to find out how we can help train your staff to react to the signs and symptoms of medical shock.