What is Shock?
Circulatory shock, commonly known simply as shock, is a life-threatening medical condition that occurs due to inadequate substrate for aerobic cellular respiration. In the early stages this is generally an inadequate tissue level of oxygen.
The typical signs of shock are low blood pressure, a rapid heartbeat and signs of poor end-organ perfusion or "decompensation/peripheral shut down" (such as low urine output, confusion or loss of consciousness). There are times that a person's blood pressure may remain stable, but may still be in circulatory shock, so it is not always a sign.
Circulatory shock is not related to the emotional state of shock. Circulatory shock is a life-threatening medical emergency and one of the most common causes of death for critically ill people. Shock can have a variety of effects, all with similar outcomes, but all relate to a problem with the body's circulatory system. For example, shock may lead to hypoxemia (a lack of oxygen in arterial blood) or cardiac arrest.
One of the key dangers of shock is that it progresses by a positive feedback mechanism. Once shock begins, it tends to make itself worse, so immediate treatment of shock is critical to the survival of the sufferer.