Hypovolemic shock



What is hypovolemic shock?

Hypovolemic shock, also known as hemorrhagic shock, is a condition that occurs when you lose more than 20 percent (one-fifth) of your body’s blood or fluid supply as well as this type of shock can result in life-threatening. Due to this severe fluid loss, it is impossible for the heart to pump a sufficient amount of blood to your body organs. As a result, hypovolemic shock can lead to organ failure. This condition, therefore, requires immediate emergency medical attention.

How common is hypovolemic shock?

Hypovolemic shock is considered as one of the most common type of shocks, with very young children and older adults being the most susceptible. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of hypovolemic shock?

The signs and symptoms of hypovolemic shock may vary depending on the amount of fluid or blood loss. However, all signs and symptoms of shock are life-threatening and require emergency medical treatment.

In some cases of internal bleeding symptoms, it seems hard to recognize until the symptoms of shock appear, but external bleeding will be visible.

Mild symptoms of hypovolemic shock  can include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Dizziness

Some severe symptoms, which must be taken seriously and warrant emergency medical attention, include:

  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Little or no urine output
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Weak pulse
  • Blue lips and fingernails
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness

If you experience any signs or symptoms of hemorrhaging or of hemorrhagic shock, please seek medical attention immediately. 

When should I see my doctor?

If you have have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes hypovolemic shock?

It is believed that blood loss of this magnitude can occur because of several conditions, include:

  • Bleeding from serious cuts or wounds
  • Bleeding from blunt traumatic injuries due to accidents
  • Internal bleeding from abdominal organs or ruptured ectopic pregnancy
  • Bleeding from the digestive tract
  • Significant vaginal bleeding

Additionally, besides the amount of blood loss, the loss of body fluids can also play a part in a decrease in blood volume. This can occur in cases of:

  • Excessive or prolonged diarrhea
  • Severe burns
  • Protracted and excessive vomiting
  • Excessive sweating

Normally, oxygen and other essential substances are carried substances to your organs and tissues by blood. It turns out that when heavy loss of blood occurs, there is not enough blood in circulation for the heart to be an effective pump. Thus, once your body loses these substances faster than it can replace them, organs in your body begin to shut down and the symptoms of shock occur. Blood pressure plummets, which can be life-threatening.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for hypovolemic shock?

There are many risk factors for this condition, such as:

Infants and children

The most likely group to experience severe diarrhea and vomiting, infants and children are especially vulnerable to dehydration.

Older adults

As you age, your body’s fluid reserve becomes smaller, your ability to conserve water is reduced and your thirst sense becomes less acute.

People with chronic illnesses

Having uncontrolled or untreated diabetes puts you at high risk of shock hypovolemic.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is hypovolemic shock diagnosed?

If you wonder whether you experience hypovolemic shock, your doctor will perform an physical examination at once.

Heavy bleeding is immediately recognizable, but internal bleeding sometimes isn’t difficultly found until you show signs of hemorrhagic shock.

In addition to physical symptoms, your doctor may use a variety of testing methods to confirm that you’re experiencing hypovolemic shock. These include:

  • Blood testing to check for electrolyte imbalances, kidney, and liver function
  • CT scan or ultrasound to visualize body organs
  • Echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart
  • Electrocardiogram to assess heart rhythm
  • Endoscopy to examine the esophagus and other gastrointestinal organs
  • Right heart catheterization to check how effectively the heart is pumping
  • Urinary catheter to measure the amount of urine in the bladder

Your doctor may order other tests based on your symptoms.

How is hypovolemic shock treated?

If you observe a person experiencing shock symptoms, please call emergency number immediately. While waiting for the responders, you should:

  • Have the person lie flat with their feet elevated about 12 inches.
  • Refrain from moving the person if you suspect a head, neck, or back injury.
  • Keep the person warm to avoid hypothermia.
  • Don’t give the person fluids by mouth

Once at a hospital, a person suspected of having hypovolemic shock will receive fluids or blood products via an intravenous line, to replenish the blood lost and improve circulation

These include:

  • Blood plasma transfusion
  • Platelet transfusion
  • Red blood cell transfusion
  • Intravenous crystalloids

Doctors may also administer medications that increase the heart’s pumping strength to improve circulation and get blood where it’s needed.

Antibiotics may be also administered to prevent septic shock and bacterial infections.

Close cardiac monitoring will determine the effectiveness of the treatment you receive.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage hypovolemic shock?

In many cases, hypovolemic shock cannot be prevented. It often occurs after a traumatic injury or severe illness. Dehydration can sometimes be prevented by drinking enough fluids. A drink that balances essential salts and sugars, such as a commercial hydration solution, helps if the vomiting or diarrhea is severe.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: August 30, 2017 | Last Modified: September 5, 2017