Medical Shock

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What are the causes of shock?

There are several main causes of shock:

  • Heart conditions (heart attack, heart failure)
  • Heavy internal or external bleeding, such as from a serious injury or rupture of a blood vessel
  • Dehydration, especially when severe or related to heat illness.
  • Infection (septic shock)
  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock)
  • Spinal injuries (neurogenic shock)
  • Burns
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea

What are the symptoms of shock?

Low blood pressure and rapid heart rate (tachycardia) are the key signs of shock.

Symptoms of all types of shock include:

  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Weakness

Depending on the type of shock the following symptoms may also be observed:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/5/2015
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