Shock or Hypovolemic Shock: What is it? Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

When you lose blood or other fluids from your body, the amount of blood circulating, known as blood volume, is lower.

Shock or hypovolemic shock occurs when a sudden and significant loss of blood or body fluids decreases your blood volume.

It is always considered an emergency that endangers life.

Blood helps keep your body temperature constant, forms blood clots, and transfers oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in your body.

If your blood volume drops too low, your organs will not be able to continue working.

Hypovolemic shock is usually the result of blood loss after the explosion of a major blood vessel or a severe injury.

This is called hemorrhagic shock. You can also get heavy bleeding related to pregnancy, burns, or even severe vomiting and diarrhea.



Injuries from a deep cut or hard impact, as well as from diseases, can lead to hypovolemic shock. These include:

  • Bones are broken around your hips.
  • Cuts in your head.
  • Damage to the organs of the abdomen, including the spleen, liver, and kidneys, due to a car accident, an incorrect fall, or other trauma.
  • An injury to your heart, a large blood vessel, or a weakened area in a large blood vessel could burst.
  • Problems with your digestive tract, such as ulcers

During labor, delivery, or within the next 24 hours, a woman may bleed. It can also occur if the placenta is detached from the uterus wall before a baby is born or if a cyst breaks.

Ectopic pregnancies are also dangerous. When an embryo outside the uterus becomes too large, it can damage the organs and cause intense internal bleeding.

Extensive burns can damage blood vessels and lead to fluid loss.

One of the most severe complications of dehydration is hypovolemic shock.

Severe diarrhea and vomiting can cause it, especially in young children or older adults. It is also possible to have a high fever or extreme sweating.


What looks and feels like a hypovolemic shock can vary greatly depending on:

  • Age.
  • Your past medical attention and your general health.
  • The cause of the shock or the source of the injury.
  • How fast he lost blood or liquids.
  • How much your blood volume has gone down.

With an injury, the most apparent symptom of hypovolemic shock is a lot of bleeding. You will not see blood loss when the bleeding is internal, perhaps from an aortic aneurysm, organ damage, or ectopic pregnancy.

Other signs of hypovolemic shock include:

  • Fast beats
  • Rapid and superficial breathing.
  • Sensation of weakness
  • Be tired.
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Little or no urine.
  • Low blood pressure .
  • Fresh and moist skin.

How much blood loss is considered too much?

You can lose up to 15% of your total blood volume, about a little less than a quarter for an adult, and you probably do not have any severe symptoms.

However, once you have lost more than that, your remaining blood moves away from the skin, muscles, and entrails and is sent to vital organs, such as the heart and brain.

Your heart will beat faster, trying to keep the blood moving. You may have a weak pulse and pale, cold, and moist skin.

When you lose between 30% and 40% of your blood volume, about a half-gallon, your blood pressure will decrease, you will breathe quickly, and you may get confused or stunned.

When you have lost more than 40% of your blood volume, your organs will stop functioning correctly.

It probably does not have urine. Your other symptoms will get worse, and you may pass out. If your blood volume does not recover quickly, you may die.


A nurse or doctor will check your temperature, pulse, breathing, and blood pressure.

Check the color and feel of your skin. If you are awake and alert, you will be asked about your medical problems and previous questions to discover what is happening.

Although your blood pressure will be taken, it is not always a reliable way to know if you are in shock.

Most people will not have a lower blood pressure number until they have lost more than 30% of their total blood volume.

You may need laboratory tests and imaging studies, such as x-rays, ultrasound, or a CT scan, to help determine the cause of the shock.

Suppose a woman may be in shock due to ectopic pregnancy or related to her reproductive parts. In that case, health workers will also perform a pregnancy test and determine her last menstrual period and any recent vaginal bleeding.


The first step is to take him to the emergency room as quickly as possible. Along the way, someone should try to stop any visible bleeding.

In the emergency room or hospital, the objectives are:

  • Get as much oxygen as possible for all parts of your body.
  • Stop, or at least control, the loss of blood.
  • Replace blood and other fluids.

All people in hypovolemic shock receive fluids through an intravenous line, a bag of fluid connected to a needle that goes directly into a vein.

Most people who lose more than 30% of their blood volume will need a blood transfusion. Many will require surgery, especially if they have internal or gynecological bleeding.

The result depends on how severe your condition is at the start of treatment, how quickly your blood and fluids are replaced, and if you have other problems or complications.