Sepsis

What is a septic shock?

Septic shock is when you experience a severe drop in blood pressure that may lead to respiratory or heart failure, stroke, and even death. However, it is the final stage of sepsis. The cause of sepsis is an infection in the body and it can cause drastic changes in the body. In sepsis, the infection reaches the bloodstream and causes inflammation in the body.  In the second stage of sepsis, the infection starts affecting major organs of the body such as the kidney, heart, and liver. Moreover, it is a common cause of death in intensive care units in the United States.

Symptoms of septic shock:

As mentioned before, septic shock is the final stage of sepsis. Hence, for its early prevention symptoms of sepsis should be taken seriously.

Symptoms of early sepsis include:

  1. Fever higher than 101˚F.
  2. Hypothermia
  3. Fast heart rate
  4. Rapid breathing

Hence, these early symptoms should not be ignored and one should immediately consult a doctor for a checkup.

However, in severe cases, the symptoms escalate leading to septic shock. Those symptoms include:

  1. A lower amount of urine.
  2. Acute confusion
  3. Dizziness
  4. Severe breathing problems
  5. Cyanosis.

Hence these symptoms along with a sudden drop in blood pressure which does not respond to fluid replacement is a sure shot way to identify a septic shock.

What are the causes of sepsis?  

A viral, fungal or bacterial infection causes sepsis in the body. However, sepsis commonly originates from:

  1. Abdominal or digestive system infections
  2. Lung infection
  3. Urinary tract infection
  4. Reproductive system infection

What is the treatment for septic shock?

  1. Intravenous antibiotics to fight infection.
  2. Insulin for blood sugar stability.
  3. Vasopressor medications 
  4. Corticosteroids
  5. Surgery to remove the infection in the body.
  6. Administering large amounts of IV fluids to treat dehydration and help increase blood pressure and blood flow to the organs.

However, septic shock is a severe medical condition and more than 50% of the cases will result in death. Hence, the chances of surviving it depends on the source of infection, how many organs are affected and how early the treatment is provided.

 

Written by: J. Dias

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