Hypovolemia is a serious condition in which there is heavy reduction of blood volume in the body. If left untreated or not treated promptly, hypovolemia can cause death. Hence this condition needs emergency medical care and is a kind of hemorrhagic shock wherein loss of 1/5th of blood volume occurs. Hypovolemia shock is a life threatening disorder in which the person loses 20-25% of blood volume or body fluids. Under such condition, the heart would not be able to pump the required blood needed by the body. Sudden loss of blood can cause vital organ failure resulting in death.
Intense bleeding during accidents or internal bleeding can cause this condition. Severe dehydration can result in loss of basic ions like sodium leading to reduction of intravascular water and hypovolemia. Complete depletion of sodium ions from the body can occur due to diarrhea can lead to this condition.
Severe loss of blood in volume is the major cause for hypovolemia. It can occur either through internal bleeding of organs or external bleeding due to accidents. Bleeding of organs in the digestive tract and severe loss of blood due to vaginal bleeding can cause this condition. Reduction in the levels of plasma due to discharge of bodily fluids by lesions or burns can cause hypovolemia. In rare cases rupture of ectopic pregnancy can cause heavy loss of blood.
Sudden depletion of sodium ions in the blood due to repeated vomiting or diarrhea can result in hypovolemia. Significant loss of body fluids can occur due to diarrhea can reduce the normal blood volume drastically. Loss of body fluids can occur due to prolonged diarrhea, severe burns and stomach flu.
Symptoms Of Hypovolemia :
- Many symptoms can accompany loss of blood and bodily fluids.
- The skin becomes pale and bluish due to loss of blood.
- Heart rate increases due to reduced blood circulation increasing the risk of an attack.
- It can cause sudden increased anxiety.
- Rate of respiration increases drastically and the person begins to breathe fast to make good the loss of fluids/blood.
- Blood pressure falls suddenly due to reduction in the supply of blood to vital organs like kidney and brain.
- In the final stage, the person may have issues like confusion, altered mental state, disorientation and loss of consciousness. The pulse gets weaker and weaker.
- In case of internal bleeding, symptoms may not appear until the situation becomes worse and uncontrollable.
If you are experiencing any of the above signs get yourself admitted to the nearest hospital immediately. Hypovolemia is an emergency medical condition requiring prompt treatment. You need to understand that some of the above symptoms would appear only if the blood volume has reduced by 20%.
Your doctor would complete physical examination and other emergency tests to ascertain if it is hypovolemia. Blood count (CBC) will be tested and imaging tests like X-ray or CT scan will be performed. Based on the physical status of the patient, echocardiogram would be done for assessing the working of the heart.
Hypovolemia Treatment :
Prompt treatment is required for patients with hypovolemia condition. If diagnosis is done at early stage wherein blood volume has reduced to 10% or less you have a fair chance of survival. Loss of blood volume at low level can be treated swiftly. The patient will be put on intravenous fluids to restore loss of body fluids and blood. It is very much essential to replace the lost electrolytes in the body.
Casualty treatment for hypovolemia includes blood plasma or platelet transfusion on emergency basis. Blood replacement would be initiated once the blood group result is obtained from the laboratory. The blood volume should be brought back to normalcy by injecting blood intravenously. Once the condition of the patient becomes stable, oral diet can be administered. Diet rich in protein is recommended.
For people with heavy loss of blood or body fluids treatment is difficult and complicated. Low levels of blood and fluids can lead to organ failure and such conditions are irreversible in many cases. Depending on the health condition of the patient, IV fluids is given. Medications like epinephrine or dopamine is given for improving the function of the heart.
The condition of the patient is monitored closely until things are improving and stabilized. For some people, gangrene or tissue death may occur in particular part of the body due to poor circulation of the blood. In such cases, amputation of specific part is done surgically. In several cases of accidental trauma the patient loses heavy volumes of blood and dies due to hypovolemia and vital organ failure.
- Prompt medical attention is required for people with symptoms of hypovolemia. You can do nothing to prevent accidents but take steps to avoid such situation.
- Do not delay in checking with your doctor if you are experiencing low blood pressure, increased heartbeat, and other symptoms given above.
- If you are above 60 years, get yourself examined with your doctor at regular intervals.
- Internal bleeding is more dangerous than accidental bleeding and in many cases it can be fatal.
- Hypovolemia is a life threatening condition and call 911 promptly if you or your loved ones are experiencing any of the above signs and symptoms.
- Hypovolemia shock can cause several complications due to sudden loss of blood volume.
- It can result in organ damage and paralyzed function of vital organs like heart or kidney.
- Gangrene or tissue death is yet another complication of hypovolemia affecting legs or arms.
Who Are At Risk?
- Anyone can get hypovolemia shock irrespective of age and sex.
- However it is common in older adults and people with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart problems, and kidney disease and lung issues.
- Those who are taking blood thinners for long term without consulting doctor are at increased risk of hypovolemic shock.
- Elderly people are more vulnerable to this kind of shock due to internal bleeding and mortality rates are high since no symptoms are observed until the advance stage.
Prognosis for hypovolemia shock depends on the rate of blood loss or fluid loss from the body. Age and health condition of the patient and intensity of injury and intensity or organ damage also determines the rate of survival. People with severe blood loss have few chances of survival.