Hypovolemia Leading to Hypovolemic Shock

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Hypovolemia Defined

Hypovolemia, in simple terms, is low blood volume. Hypovolemia often results from dehydration and can be treated with fluids if it is diagnosed in a timely manner. However, hypovolemia that is left untreated can lead to hypovolemic shock, a serious condition where the heart is unable to supply blood to the rest of the body. Loss of blood supply can cause organ failure and other serious health problems (Medline Plus).

Causes of Hypovolemic Shock Induced by Hypovolemia

Hypovolemic shock occurs when twenty percent of the blood that is normally in the body is lost. This type of severe blood loss can occur due to severe cuts and injuries or internal bleeding caused by ulcers, sores, and other medical conditions. Dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to hypovolemia and, eventually, hypovolemic shock (Medline Plus).

Signs & Symptoms of Hypovolemic Shock Induced by Hypovolemia

There are a wide range of signs and symptoms associated with hypovolemia and hypovolemic shock. Some of the signs and symptoms related directly to fluid loss include cool and clammy skin, sweating, and decreased urine output. This fluid loss can cause rapid respiration, anxiety, confusion, and pallor. If this condition becomes serious enough, it can even lead to unconsciousness (Medline Plus).

Diagnosing Hypovolemic Shock Induced by Hypovolemia

There are several ways in which hypovolemia and hypovolemic shock can be diagnosed. During a physical examination, a physician may note low blood pressure, a rapid pulse rate, and reduced body temperature. Additional laboratory and diagnostic tests may include a complete blood count, echocardiogram, and radiology scans.

Treating Hypovolemic Shock Induced by Hypovolemia

Hypovolemic Shock must be treated as soon as possible to prevent irreversible damage. Once a person with hypovolemic shock is admitted to the hospital, an IV will be placed to allow fluid and blood products to be given. Medications that regulate blood pressure and heart rate may be given to stabilize the patient. Medical staff may also monitor urine output and perform procedures that will help to determine the damage sustained by the body’s organs (Medline Plus).

Hypovolemia and Hypovolemic Shock Reference Materials

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia. National Institutes of Health. “Hypovolemic Shock.” Retrieved December 1, 2008. Available: Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia