Circulatory shock symptoms are generally associated with complications in blood supply to organs and cells as a result of which a person might suffer from abnormally low/high blood pressure and even cardiac arrest. Read this article to know the symptoms of circulatory shock in detail.
Circulatory shock is a condition that is completely different from emotional shock and the former is a life-threatening condition, wherein flow of blood to tissues is severely hindered. People who are critically ill are more likely to suffer from a circulatory shock and it can be fatal as well.
Since blood carries nutrients and oxygen to cells and body organs, a severely hampered flow starves tissues of these essentials, as a result of which rapid cell death takes place. Under such circumstances, patients are transferred to intensive care units, where they are given special treatment for recovery. Circulatory shock symptoms are associated mostly with abnormal heart rate and other cardiac problems.
Causes of Circulatory Shock
Circulatory shock is often termed simply as ‘shock’ and in this condition, the blood entering the body tissues is completely obstructed. This condition is clinically termed as hypoperfusion. When a person experiences cardiac attack or is suffering from hypoxemia he might also experience circulatory shock. According to the type of attack, it has further been divided into four categories, viz, obstructive shock, cardiogenic shock, hypovolemic shock and distributive shock. The basic reason behind the occurrence of such conditions is more or less common.
Furthermore, according to the severity of the symptoms, circulatory shock is classified into four grades.
- Grade 1: The effective volume of blood is lost by 15%, that is approximately 700 ml.
- Grade 2: About 15-30% of blood is lost and the volume of blood accounts to 750-1500 ml.
- Grade 3: There’s loss of 1500-2000 ml of blood, i.e, 30-40% of effective volume is lost.
- Grade 4: The most severe condition, in which about 40-50% (2000-2500ml) of blood is lost.
Signs and Symptoms of Circulatory Shock
Early signs of circulatory shock often go unnoticed because it is confused with normal physical stress and anxiety. Diagnosis becomes difficult in people already suffering from high blood pressure. This is because, rapid heartbeat is a symptom of both of these clinical conditions. The signs of circulatory shock also depend on the Grades.
- Rapid heartbeat or tachycardia is the most common symptom that is evident during Grade 1 stage. If the early signs are neglected, the symptoms become severe. Oxygen levels drop, leading to the need of external aid to suffice the need of oxygen.
- The pressure felt while reading the pulse begins to decrease and urine output is considerably lowered. Loss of 30-40% blood causes severe hypotension and blood pressure becomes abnormally low. The heart rate lowers in extreme cases.
- Due to ceased blood circulation, skin begins to turn blue, leading to cyanosis.
- When a person suffers from septic shock, symptoms include high fever along with low blood pressure and excessive sweating. This takes place because rate of vasodilation rapidly increases and the contractility of the heart is severely reduced.
- The symptoms of hypovolemic shock include restlessness, anxiety and fatigue. All these symptoms become rampant because a person suffers from severe oxygen deficiency and loss of blood. Pupils tend to dilate and the skin is more likely to become cold (due to excessive sweating) and patchy.
- The heart faces difficulty pumping blood, as a consequence of which myocardial infarction might take place.
- The symptoms become severe on reaching Grade 4. Under such circumstances, organs get damaged and cell death takes place. This condition is fatal in most cases.
Recovery from circulatory shock is quite possible if a person is treated properly in the early stages itself. Initially, patients are administered saline water accompanied by oxygen mask if shortness of breath is experienced. Restoring perfusion by clinical techniques is effective in regulating blood flow to the cells and tissues of different organs of the body. Doctors ensure that patients are undergoing active respiration to avoid any complications. To normalize the heart rate they often administer beta blockers. The mode of treatment depends on the intensity and type of shock. Complete recovery is possible only when immediate medical assistance is given.