Types of Shock: Definition, Stages, Symptoms, Causes, Management and Treatments

The medical term refers to the organs and tissues of the body that do not receive enough blood flow.

As a result of the imbalance between oxygen supply and demand, a build-up of waste products occurs and can cause organ damage .

This type of shock is known as physiological shock and can lead to collapse, coma, or even death if not treated right away.

Often times, when people hear disturbing news about a loved one or have had a traumatic experience, they also experience shock. This type of shock is generally known as  psychological shock  and occurs after a physically or emotionally harrowing incident.

Mood is affected and, in more severe cases, professional help may be required.

Prompt treatment of shock in physiological shock can be life saving. Prompt treatment of symptoms of shock-associated conditions will prevent organ damage and death.

Also, making healthy changes in your life can make a big difference in how your body reacts to and treats symptoms of physiological shock.

Symptoms of shock

The most common symptoms of shock include:

  • Extremely low blood pressure.
  • Feeling weak or nauseous.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast but weak pulse.
  • Profuse sweating
  • Dizziness, fainting or dizziness
  • Sweaty skin
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing.
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or confused.
  • Blue lips and nails.

Shock in infants and children

Diagnosis of shock in infants and young children can be difficult in frank hypotensive shock due to a weak or absent pulse; cold, blue limbs; and a gray or mottled appearance.

However, in the case of compensated shock, where central arterial pressure is preserved at the expense of peripheral end-organ perfusion, it is much more difficult to determine.

In addition, infants and children have a remarkable ability to preserve their central blood pressure, as they try to protect their heart and brain in the event of many forms of shock, while reducing perfusion to the extremities, intestines, kidneys and other end organs. .

Stages of shock

Stage 1: initial stage of shock

The initial stage of shock is reversible, but does not show obvious signs and symptoms to indicate that the body is entering a stage of shock. Inside the body in this initial stage, cells begin to change due to problems with perfusion and oxygenation.

Perfusion is the term used to describe the method used by the veins to deliver blood to the capillary beds within the tissues of the body.

Without this nourishing blood and an adequate supply of oxygen, cells switch to anaerobic metabolism, producing pyruvic and lactic acid.

Stage 2: compensatory shock stage

During the compensatory stage of shock, the body tries to reverse the results of the initial stage. The body uses physiological, neural, hormonal, and biochemical reactions to correct imbalances. One of these mechanisms is hyperventilation.

During hyperventilation there is an increased frequency of respiration which, in turn, can help improve oxygen flow to cells to neutralize recently acidic conditions. Another mechanism used by the body is known as the catecholamine response.

This response is triggered by hypotension, or low blood pressure, caused by the reduced volume of blood flow. Catecholamines are hormones released by the adrenal glands.

These hormones aim to increase the body’s heart rate in an attempt to increase blood pressure.

A third mechanism used in the compensatory stage of shock is known as the renin-angiotensin response. During this response, a hormone called vasopressin is rapidly released into the bloodstream. Vasopressin helps retain fluids and triggers vasoconstriction.

Stage 3: progressive shock stage

If the shock progresses to the third stage before the initial cause is corrected, the damage to the body is more severe and may even be irreversible.

Cell function deteriorates, anaerobic metabolism leads to an increase in metabolic acidosis, and compensatory mechanisms are unable to maintain the balance required to protect organs.

Stage 4: refractory shock stage

If the cause of the shock cannot be corrected, the body will inevitably enter the last stage of shock known as the refractory stage. During this stage, the organs fail and lead to death.

One of the most important factors in recognizing the different stages of shock is preventing progression to this final stage.

What Causes Shock?

There are multiple causes of shock and symptoms depending on the type of shock you are facing.

Causes and types of physiological shock

Physiological (circulatory) shock can be caused by any condition that reduces blood flow.

There are several types of physiological shock, and symptoms include:

  • Cardiogenic shock  occurs when the heart is severely damaged by a heart attack or heart failure.
  • Hypovolemic shock  occurs when the total blood volume in the body falls below normal, such as severe internal or external bleeding, dehydration, diabetes insipidus, kidney failure, extensive burns, or inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Hemorrhagic shock  occurs as a result of hemorrhage due to physical trauma, for example, motor vehicle collisions or penetrating wounds, such as gunshots or stab wounds.
  • Neurogenic shock  occurs specifically from trauma leading to spinal cord injuries.
  • Septic shock  occurs when bacterial infection causes toxic shock syndrome and blood pressure drops. Damage to the lungs that causes acute respiratory distress syndrome can occur as can liver failure, kidney failure, and coma.
  • Anaphylactic shock  is caused by severe allergic reactions to things like bee and wasp stings, nuts, shellfish, eggs, latex, and certain medications, including penicillin.

Causes of psychological shock

  • Receive upsetting news such as the death of a loved one.
  • Being involved in a traumatic event, such as a car accident or being the victim of a crime.

Psychological shock can interrupt your life, leaving you engrossed and worried about the event or news that caused the impact. The individual may also find it difficult to cope with daily functioning, such as personal relationships and work.

In some cases, an individual begins to experience symptoms of psychological shock after the event has actually occurred. This is known as “delayed shock.” Late shock symptoms can occur within hours or, in some cases, years after a traumatic event.

If symptoms do not improve and continue to persist, leaving the individual unable to return to normal life, it is possible that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has developed.

The individual with symptoms of psychological shock can be affected in the following ways:

  • Intrusion : the individual fixes on the event and the news by recalling them over and over again in his mind
  • Avoidance : the individual withdraws from normal activities and may turn to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain.
  • Increased arousal – The individual feels moody and angry.

Help for shock

When someone goes into shock, treatment is needed immediately. Treat shock with the following guidelines to make a difference:

  • Call a doctor or emergency services for immediate medical help.
  • Check the person’s breathing and circulation every 5 minutes. If the person is having trouble breathing, start CPR.
  • Lay the person on their back and raise their legs about 25 cm to help restore blood pressure. If the person is conscious but has trouble breathing, place them in a sitting position.
  • Administer first aid treatment for wounds, injuries, or illnesses.
  • Loosen tight clothing and keep the person warm and comfortable.
  • Do not give the person food or liquids to avoid inhaling vomit.

Emergency treatment would involve the person in shock being hospitalized. To treat it effectively, treatment for shock will include:

  • Temperature control such as cooling blankets or warming devices.
  • Give fluids and blood through an IV to improve blood flow.
  • The extra oxygen is given through a tube in the nose, a face mask or endotracheal tube, and a ventilator. A ventilator is used if the patient has trouble breathing.
  • To treat underlying conditions, such as heart problems, medications are given or surgery may be done. Bacterial infections will be treated with antibiotics.

If physiological shock is not treated, it is usually fatal. Depending on the severity of the condition associated with shock and symptoms, some people recover, while others may need long-term care.

Natural treatments for physiological shock

Physiological signs of shock always require emergency medical treatment. This type of shock is best treated by a doctor or homeopath who could do the necessary diagnostic tests and begin treatment to stabilize the patient.