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Types Of Shock

Updated on October 22, 2011

In medical terms a shock is a condition in which various cells of the body fail to receive enough oxygen as there is an insufficient supply of blood to the entire body parts.

Shock is an extremely dangerous and a life threatening situation as the lack of oxygen in the tissues of various organs of the body can cause a paralysis and malfunctioning of brain cells and in most cases a cardiac arrest.

An immediate treatment must be, therefore, given to the patient as soon as his body undergoes a shock. A shock occurs when a body undergoes an unexpected event. It can be any physical injury, severe illness or an emotional blow.

Causes Of Shock

There are many causes of a medical shock. What happens is that when our receptors receive an unusual signal and it undergoes goes a shock. It happens usually when the body goes through an unusual illness, an external or an internal injury or a tragic event our brain cells seize to give the signals for the blood to flow and the body organs get an insufficient supply of oxygen.

The shock caused by an injury or an illness is far more dangerous and a bit different from the shock caused by a tragic or a frightening event as in the latter case the body can easily recover on its own in most cases and the effect is not long lasting.

Types Of Shocks

Emotional and psychological shocks are simply caused by an unexpected event which leads to an improper flow of blood which in return causes an insufficient supply of oxygen which leads to either a temporary or a prolonged paralysis of senses.

On the other hand the shocks caused by an injury or severe illnesses are far more complex and are different from each other.

They are classified into following five major types:

Xray  of a pneumonia patient.
Xray of a pneumonia patient.

Septic Shock

Septic shock is a common type of shock which accompanies severe diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis or some intra abdominal infections. Basically this shock is caused after a bacterial infection. If the disease is diagnosed and the antibiotic treatment is given to the patient the bacterial cells inside inhibit their growth and the body does not suffer from the shock.

But if the disease is prolonged the bacterial cells inside the body keep on multiplying. The rapidly multiplying bacterial cells release certain toxins in the body. These toxins mix with the blood and damage the entire network of blood circulation. They take up the oxygen and the body undergoes a severe shock which results in the permanent paralysis of the brain.

Septic shock is a very dangerous kind of shock caused by bacterial infections that are quite common. One must have a proper treatment for such diseases as if the bacterial cells remain intact in the body they lead to a shocked state.

Heart attack, being caused due to blockage in arteries.
Heart attack, being caused due to blockage in arteries.

Cardiogenic Shock

Cardiogenic shock is another kind of shock which is directly caused by the failure of heart to produce sufficient amount of blood for the body.

When the valves of heart get clogged up and congested they start producing less amount of blood than required which results in a severe shortage of oxygen in the body.

There comes a time when the heart completely fails to produce blood this results in a severe shock followed by a heart attack. In most cases it may result in congestive heart failure. Hence cardiogenic shock can also be called as a pre heart attack shock.

A rash formed due to Anaphylactic Shock
A rash formed due to Anaphylactic Shock
Our Nervous System
Our Nervous System

Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic shock is caused by a severe allergic reaction in the body. It can be any kind of allergic reaction. Mostly this shock accompanies an allergic reaction in the body caused insect bites, medicines or any food.

The cause of allergy may vary in different people as it solely depends on the sensitivity of one’s body towards an agent.  Any way the allergy causing agent in the releases toxins in our, if not controlled early these toxins become a part of our circulation and cause a severe damage which results in a shock.

Neurogenic Shock

Neurogenic shock is probably the most dangerous kind of shock as it results in an instant paralysis which lasts forever.

This shock is caused by a severe injury of the spinal cord. Since spinal cord is the head of many activities in our body, any damage to the spinal cord can cause a permanent damage.

Hypovolemic Shock

Hypovolemic shock is another common type of shock which accompanies any internal or external injury. Basically this shock is caused due to severe loss of blood caused by the injury.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      well written.thanks 4 making us aware.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The feeling of, you can't breath and you didn't know what to do. Even you take a deep breath it is still not enough. Thanks for giving us this information, very helpful and make us aware of this annoying feeling, the shock.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      There are 8 types of shock and you only have 5 listed. Where are Respiratory, Metabolic, and Psychogenic


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