Symptoms Of Hypovolemic Shock

October 2, 2023

Hypovolemic shock occurs when the human body loses more than one-fifth of its blood or fluid supply. The condition is life-threatening, as it can lead to organ failure, and requires immediate medical attention as soon as it is suspected. Hypovolemic is the most common type of shock, resulting from sudden and significant fluid and blood loss. Blood and fluid loss of this magnitude can occur after several types of incidents, from cuts and traumatic injuries to endometriosis and internal bleeding. When the body begins to lose fluids, it can cause a drop in blood volume, as well. The body loses fluids through prolonged diarrhea, burns, vomiting, and excessive sweating. The following symptoms range from mild to severe and are all known indicators of hypovolemic shock.

Cold, Clammy Skin

Experiencing cold and clammy skin is one of the more severe symptoms of hypovolemic shock. The shock is broken into three stages, with this particular symptom arising after the condition has already progressed into the second stage. As such, it must be taken seriously, warranting immediate medical attention, especially if it is detected in conjunction with other symptoms. Clammy skin does not result from physical exertion or hot temperatures. Rather, it is a sign the bodily systems have gone into shock as a response to a traumatic event, such as a lack of sufficient blood circulation in the case of hypovolemic shock. Shock develops as the body's response to a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure.

Profuse Sweating

Profuse sweating is another symptom of hypovolemic shock, though it is considered a fairly mild one. The severity of symptoms will depend on and coincide with the amount of blood or fluid lost. Some symptoms are more urgent than others, but mild symptoms like this one should still not be ignored or brushed under the rug.

Profuse sweating goes beyond the body ridding itself of excess water after rigorous activity or in the hot weather. You know your own body and when it is natural for you to sweat. If sweating comes about suddenly and is soaking through your clothes or bedding, you can be convinced it is not due to natural causes.


Nausea is another mild symptom of hypovolemic shock. As always, though, its intensity and duration should be closely monitored. If nausea worsens and goes beyond discomfort, seek medical attention. Nausea has many possible causes and typically goes away on its own with time. However, if you actually do begin to vomit, this is another case. Vomiting causes further fluid (and potentially blood) loss, which will only increase the risks and dangers associated with hypovolemic shock. If you do begin to vomit, replenish your fluids and seek medical assistance.

Rapid And Shallow Breathing

Tachypnea is the medical term for rapid and shallow breathing that does not result from physical exertion. This occurs when the lungs are not being pumped with enough blood to function properly. Normally, the resting breathing rate for a healthy adult is between eight and sixteen breaths per minute. For babies, the normal rate can be up to forty-four breaths per minute.

You know what feels normal for you and what doesn't, and when breathing becomes a bit difficult or you notice your chest rising and falling to different extents and at an increased speed, be sure to monitor yourself and seek out emergency treatment.


While many of us experience lightheadedness in a variety of situations, such as standing up too quickly or feeling peaky after not eating enough food, it can also be a severe sign of hypovolemic shock. It typically happens after the condition has already progressed beyond the initial stages, meaning some damage has already occurred. Lightheadedness can present itself along with dizziness, weightlessness, and the feeling you might faint. This can be a short-lived or prolonged experience, and it can also reoccur multiple times. To be sure that it is not a sign of progressing hypovolemic shock, seek out medical attention.

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