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Various Types of Shock

By Lia Stannard ; Updated August 14, 2017

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body is not getting enough blood flow. This can damage multiple organs. Shock requires immediate medical treatment and can get worse very rapidly.” Five types of shock can occur—cardiogenic, hypovolemic, anaphylactic, septic and neurogenic shock—with each having their own causes.

Cardiogenic Shock

Cardiogenic shock is a type of shock that is associated with heart problems, according to the NIH. Patients who have cardiogenic shock have damage to their hearts, resulting in an inadequate blood supply to the different organs in the body. Cardiogenic shock occurs either during or after a heart attack.

Hypovolemic Shock

A second type of shock, hypovolemic shock, is caused when there is not enough blood volume in the body. Patients with hypovolemic shock have severe blood loss, which is one fifth of their total blood volume, or severe fluid loss; this blood or fluid loss results in the heart being unable to pump. Causes of the severe blood loss include cuts, injuries and internal bleeding; the causes of the severe fluid loss include burns, diarrhea and vomiting.

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Anaphylatic Shock

The third type of shock is anaphylactic shock. Patients who suffer from anaphylactic shock have a severe allergic reaction, such as to bee sting venom, which affects the whole body.

Septic Shock

The fourth type of shock, septic shock, is associated with infections. According to the NIH, the overwhelming infection results in life-threatening low blood pressure.

Neurogenic Shock

The last type of shock is neurogenic shock. Patients with neurogenic shock have damage in their nervous systems from a spinal cord injury or neurological disorder.

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