What is Hypotension?

Hypotension and shock are not synonymous. While the shock is always associated with low BP, a previously hypertensive patient may be in shock despite BP being within normal limits. Hypotension may occur in the absence of shock.

Shock is defined as the state of widespread serious reduction of tissue blood flow, which if prolonged leads to generalised reduction of cell functions.

Cause of Shock (Hypotension)

1. External Fluid Loss: Hemorrhage, vomiting, and diarrhea, diabetes, severe burns, heatstroke.
2. Internal Loss: Fracture thigh bone and pelvis, inflammation of peritoneum and pancreas, cirrhosis of the liver, trauma to chest and abdomen.
3. Cardiac Cause: Heart attack, abnormality of heart rhythm, heart failure.
4. Obstruction of Blood Flow: Embolism, rupture of lungs into pleura (pneumothorax), tear of the aortic muscle wall.
5. Drugs: Anesthesia, severe reaction.
6. Spinal Cord: Injury, whiplash, road traffic accident, fall from height.
7. Others: Blood poisoning, endocrine gland failure, anoxia.

Signs of Shock (Hypotension)

1. Skin is cold and clammy.
2. Pallor of the face.
3. Weak rapid irregular pulse.
4. Irregular breathing.
5. BP very low.
6. Restlessness, agitation and confusion.

Management of Shock (Hypotension)

1. Make the patient lie down and cover him with blankets.
2. Raise the foot end of the bed.
3. If bleeding is seen, this must be stopped.
4. Contact a doctor immediately.