What is septic shock?

Septic shock is a health condition that develops once the body of the individual is peppered with infection. Most cases of infection in the body are localized but a systemic infection can occur which is called sepsis. When sepsis occurs, the body of the individual could not fight off the infection and the whole body responds to the bacteria that are responsible for the infection. If you want to learn how to manage this condition, read here.


Septic shock develops once the body attempts to fight the sepsis and at the same time, the blood pressure drops to severely low levels. Always bear in mind that septic shock is quite common among the elderly, young children and pregnant women but it can develop to anyone.

What are the causes?

Septic shock

Other symptoms include a racing heartbeat, lightheadedness and difficulty catching breathe.

Septic shock is triggered by an underlying bacterial infection in the body that will lead to low blood pressure when the body reacts to severe inflammation. In rare cases, viral infections can lead to sepsis and the individual can go into shock, but this does not occur often.

Those who have health conditions such as diabetes, weakened immune system and some types of cancer face a greater risk of sepsis and eventually progressing to septic shock. Always bear in mind that septic shock can be triggered by extended usage of antibiotics. The use of catheters for a prolonged period can lead to septic shock due to the increased risk of the introduction of bacteria into the body.

Symptoms of septic shock

Always bear in mind that sepsis can develop in any part of the body, thus the symptoms can oftentimes vary depending on the location of the infection. The symptoms of septic shock typically include low blood pressure especially when the individual stands up. Other symptoms include a racing heartbeat, lightheadedness and difficulty catching breathe. In some cases, the individual will also experience chills and develop high fever or an unusual low body temperature. Agitation and restlessness can be experienced by those who are going into septic shock.

Diagnosing septic shock

Medical care is required to confirm a diagnosis of septic shock as well as the control the damage done on the organs and tissues in the body. In most cases, blood tests are performed to check for infection as well as the function of the kidneys, liver, heart and other vital organs.

The readings that show levels of oxygen in the blood can be utilized to diagnose septic shock. An X-ray can be taken in order to rule out pneumonia or other lung infections. Additionally, urine and spinal fluid samples can be taken and checked for infection that might be responsible for causing septic shock.


The management for septic shock involves hospitalization and administration of intravenous antibiotics. The treatment starts before a diagnosis is confirmed to protect the tissues from additional damage.

In some cases, the treatment for septic shock can also include surgery if a large amount of tissue loss is discovered. The dead tissues are removed from the body. The large amounts of fluids are administered intravenously to help restore the blood pressure level to a normal level.


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