Healthy Living

What Is Septic Shock?

What Is Septic Shock?

Key Takeaways

  • Early diagnosis of septic shock can help in minimizing the effects of the condition.
  • Severe sepsis is a situation where the infection affects the functionality of vital body organs.
  • Sepsis is caused either by a fungal or a bacterial infection.

This is a severe condition which is a result of an overwhelmed immune system due to an infection. Widespread inflammation is activated by immune chemicals that are released into the blood to fight the infection. This causes leaky vessels and blood clots. The flow of blood is then disrupted which deprives the organs of oxygen and nutrients resulting in damage.

There is organ failure in patients with severe sepsis. If the condition worsens, the blood pressure will reduce, heart will become weak and septic shock may occur. When this takes place, many organs can fail quickly resulting in death.

What is Septic Shock?

Sepsis which is caused by an infection, leads to drastic alterations in the body. It is a condition known to be very dangerous and can even be fatal.

Chemicals that battle infection cause inflammatory reactions which are released into the bloodstream causing sepsis.

There are three stages of sepsis as identified by doctors. They are as follows:

This disease attack the person in 3 stages. They are as follows:

  1. Basic/ uncomplicated sepsis: During this stage, basic infection takes place in the body resulting in flu. Sepsis of this stage can be easily managed and cured at home.
  2. Severe sepsis: During this stage, the sepsis starts to interfere with the vital organs of the body. The person starts to encounter problems related to lungs, liver, kidney, etc.
  3. Very severe sepsis/ level of sepsis shock: During this stage, the person’s immunity is at the lowest for all the vital body organs. This results in a drastic fall in the blood pressure level which stops the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. This might give the patient a severe shock or even a heart attack.

These three stages occur continuously one after the other and will keep on progressing and attacking the vital organs of the body.

When the infection affects the functions of organs like the kidneys, heart and brain, the sepsis will be deemed severe. Septic shock is an extreme drop of blood pressure that can cause heart or respiratory failure, organ failure, stroke or even death.

Tiny blood clots form due to the inflammation from sepsis. This stops the nutrients and oxygen from going to the most important organs. Elderly individuals whose immune systems are weak are most likely to develop this inflammation although anyone can develop sepsis and septic shock.

In the last stage of sepsis, the chances of occurrence of a septic shock are the highest.

Symptoms of Septic Shock

You should not ignore the early symptoms of sepsis:

•    High fever

•    Hypothermia (body temperature that is very low)

•    Accelerated heartbeat

•    Increased breathing

The Symptoms for Severe Sepsis Include:

•    Decreased urine output

•    Confusion

•    Dizziness

•    Breathing difficulties that are severe

•    Cyanosis (lips turn bluish)

Individuals experiencing septic shock will also exhibit severe sepsis symptoms and will have low blood pressure that does not change when fluids are administered.

Causes of Septic Shock

Sepsis is caused by either a fungal or a bacterial infection. Infections can develop at home or while you are admitted to the hospital for treatment of other medical conditions.

The following can lead to sepsis:

•    Infections of the abdomen or the digestive system

•    Infections of the lungs such as pneumonia

•    Infection of the urinary tract

•    Infection of the reproductive system

How to Identify Sepsis

Tests should be done to know how serious the infection is after you have shown symptoms of sepsis. A blood test is normally used in diagnosing this. It will help determine the availability of the following:

•    Presence of bacteria in the blood

•    Clotting because of low platelet count

•    A lot of waste materials in the blood

•    Abnormal functioning of the kidney and liver

•    Low oxygen levels

•    Imbalanced electrolytes

The Following Tests may also be Formed to Identify the Origin of the Infection:

•    Spinal fluid test

•    Testing of the wound secretion if it appears to be infected

•    Mucus secretion test

•    Urine test

The Following Tests can also be Carried out to Internally View the Body if the Source of Infection is not Identified by the Above Tests:

•    CT scan

•    X-rays

•    MRI

•    Ultrasound scan

Complications that can Arise from Septic Shock

Dangerous or fatal complications can result from septic shock. They include:

•    Stroke

•    Heart failure

•    Kidney failure

•    Failure to breathe

•    Part of the bowel is lost

•    Portions of the extremities are lost

The Following will Determine the Complications  and the Effects of Your Condition:

•    Your age

•    How soon the treatment bega

•    What lead to the sepsis

•    Any present illnesses

Treatments for Septic Shock

You will have higher chances of surviving sepsis if you seek out early diagnosis and treatment measures. As soon as the sepsis is diagnosed, you will be admitted to the ICU for treatment.

The following are some medications used in treating septic shock:

•    Antibiotics through IV

•    Vasopressors medications

•    Insulin

•    Corticosteroids

To treat dehydration, increased blood pressure and the flow of blood to the organs, plenty of IV fluids are administered. A respirator may also be provided to help you breathe. Surgery may be conducted to clear the source of infection.

Septic Shock Long-Term Outlook

Being a severe illness, septic shock results in death in about 50% of the cases. The infection source, the number of affected organs and how soon the treatment was offered will determine the chances of survival.

Treatment for the Sepsis Patients

The first level sepsis is just a minor flu and it can be diagnosed with the home remedies or the antibiotics very easily. In the case of an uncomplicated sepsis, the patients will start showing some serious indications which can be diagnosed by some minor doctor intervention. Uncomplicated sepsis can be easily cured in time.

However, in case of the last stage of the sepsis, the patient needs to be admitted to the hospital so as to prevent the septic shocks because in this stage, the body needs some artificial life support which can be provided in the ICU. The patients need to be compulsorily kept under observation because septic shock can prove to be fatal in most of the cases.