Bleeding

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Bleeding: Definition, Causes, Diagnostic Procedures, and Treatment

What is bleeding?

Bleeding, also known as hemorrhaging or hemorrhaging, is blood dissemination from the circulatory system.  The process can include internal or external bleeding or worse Hypovolemia which will be discussed in detail in this article. 

When it comes to bleeding, it can occur in the following ways:

  1. Internal: blood leaks from blood vessels inside the body.
  2. External: blood expanses either through a natural opening such as the mouth, nose, ear, urethra, vagina or anus or through a traumatic break in the skin or mucosa.

A massive decrease in blood volume is called Hypovolemia, and if it is not stopped may lead to the death due to exsanguination.

First aid and surgical procedures aimed at stopping or controlling of bleeding are called hemostasis. 

bleeding (Hypovolemia)

What is Hypovolemia (bleeding)?

This condition is when the body is in the process of losing too much blood even more than a fifth of the total amount of blood supply.

People most at risk of hypovolemia are:

  • Young children
  • Elderly

Causes of Hypovolemia

Blood loss can occur due to various reasons but for severe blood loss to occur will result in a life-threatening or fatal situation. What is Hypovolemia caused by and why do people suffer from it?
Hypovolemia is often caused by the following:
  • Serious wounds
  • Blunt traumatic injury
  • Organ rupture and internal bleeding
  • Ruptured ectopic pregnancy
  • Digestive tract bleeding
When severe fluid in the body is lost this can also lead to a decrease in blood supply to the heart. These can be seen in the case of the following:
  • Severe burns
  • Excessive diarrhea
  • Excessive and protracted vomiting
When considering what is hypovolemia (bleeding), one should also consider what the symptoms are to recognize it before the situation gets worse. The following are some symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
Other severe symptoms to look out for after learning what is hypovolemia (bleeding) are clammy skin, paleness, confusion, blue lips and fingernails,  a slow weak pulse and loss of consciousness.
When the patient is experiencing hypovolemia, blood will be expelled from the visible wound but if it is internal, the patient may experience abdominal pain and or swelling, chest pain, vomiting blood or defecating bloody stool.

Diagnostic Procedures

If you suspect that you or someone else is suffering from the same symptoms as is seen for what is hypovolemia (bleeding) then you have to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Internal bleeding is hard to recognize and sometimes the patient experiences a hypovolemic shock. Diagnosing hypovolemic shock includes checking the patient’s vital signs. Low blood pressure is a sign as well as a fast heart rate and slow response from the patient when being asked questions.
Other diagnoses to check whether the patient is bleeding internally may include a series of procedures such as:
  • CT scans and ultrasounds as these machines are able to look inside the body
  • An echo-cardiogram works similar to an ultrasound but made for the heart
  • Electrocardiogram tests to check the heart rhythm
  • Endoscopy to examine the esophagus, stomach, and intestines
  • Right heart catheterization to examine how the heart is pumping
  • Urinary catheter used to measure the amount of urine in the bladder

Treatment for Hypovolemia

The treatment can differ one patient to another and can also depend on whether the person is elderly or a young child. The following are some measures to treat hypovolemia in patients.
Patients will be supplied with fluids and blood via an IV (intravenous line), this will help restore lost fluids and blood. IV’s help nurses to be able to control and administer a number of fluids to be given to the patient so that they get the correct amount.
These measures may include:

a) Blood platelet transfusion

b) Blood plasma transfusion

c) Red blood cell transfusion

d) IV crystalloids

To help regulate heart rate and improve blood circulation may require some medications prescribed by the doctor, which may include Dopamine, Dobutamine, and Norepinephrine to name a few. In some cases a patient who has suffered hypovolemia can experience septic shock or infection and to prevent this from occurring, the patient will also be required to take antibiotics. The patient will be monitored for their response to the treatment. 

Hypovolemia First Aid Measures and Tips

  • Call for medical assistance at once.
  • If there is visible profuse bleeding, try to control the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound.
  • If the casualty has not suffered injuries to the head, neck or spine then you can help the conscious casualty to shock position which is on the back with the legs slightly elevated to regulate blood circulation.
  • Avoid moving the casualty if there are any injuries to the head, neck, and spine as this could cause other injuries and complications. 
  • If there is no injury to the neck, spine, and head, you can turn the casualty’s head to one side and keep the airways open. Do not administer anything orally because this may cause choking.
  • Severe loss of blood can impair the patient’s body from being able to keep warm and thus could result in hypothermia. Try and keep the patient warm by covering them with a blanket.
  • Ensure that there are no constrictive clothing on the casualty, loosen tight clothing.
  • Having suffered hypovolemia could lead to heart attack, gangrene and permanent organ damage.

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