Dealing with Hypovolemic Shock
Hypovolemic shock occurs when an individual loses 20 percent or more of their blood or fluids. When left untreated, the condition can damage the organs and lead to death. Before hypovolemic shock can be treated, it must first be diagnosed.
Diagnozing hypovolemic shock
People usually only take note of hypovolemic shock after the condition has begun to manifest symptoms; this is because there are often no warning signs to prepare you for the advent of the shock.
It normally takes a physical examination to reveal signs that hypovolemic shock might be in play, a few of which include low blood pressure and a rapid heartbeat.
People starting to experience shock also struggle with confusion and are often less responsive when they are questioned about their medical situation. While external bleeding is easy enough to recognize, sometimes it might prove necessary to perform a blood test or carry out a CT scan, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram or an endoscopy to identify internal bleeding, check for electrolyte imbalances and the like.
The complexity of each individual’s situation will vary depending on the cause of shock.
Treating hypovolemic shock
The manner in which this condition is treated will depend on the situation in question, the skills of the individuals in the vicinity and the resources available to them.
Sufficing to say, if a person in your immediate vicinity is showing unmistakable signs of shock, you cannot afford to wait for the paramedics to arrive. It will fall on your shoulders to provide the necessary emergency care lest the person dies.
Once you have called the ambulance, it is essential that you endeavor to make the patient in question comfortable. Lay them flat on the ground and elevate their feet by 12 inches. Keep them warm if possible. Hypothermia is a significant risk at this point.
Avoid taking the following actions:
1.) Despite what you know about hypovolemic shock, refrain from giving the individual fluids through the mouth (which sounds like the most rational thing to do).
2.) Do not elevate their heads. In fact, if they have been in an accident, avoid moving them if you can help it.
Focus on removing any dangerous debris from the patient’s immediate surroundings and minimize blood loss by wrapping any injuries and cuts with a cloth and applying pressure.
Once the patient of hypovolemic shock reaches the hospital, steps will be taken to treat the cause of shock (be it an injury or illness). Fluid or blood loss will also be controlled even while steps are taken to replenish the blood or fluids they lost.
The goal at this point is to improve circulation. It isn’t uncommon for doctors to administer medication like dopamine and norepinephrine that can augment the pumping strength of the heart; this along with initiating blood plasma, red blood cells and platelet transfusions, depending on the need.
Whether or not the patient recovers from hypovolemic shock, complications will depend on factors like their stage of shock, amount of blood lost and the presence or absence of preexisting illness like diabetes.