Septic shock, a serious health condition arising from multiple organ damage, causes metabolic abnormalities and extremely low blood pressure. Septic shock is a secondary illness following infections by bacteria, or sometimes other pathogens such as fungi or viruses. While the initial infection may occur in any part of the body, in most cases, septic shock occurs after an infection of the abdominal organs, lungs, urinary tract, skin, or the brain.
According to the CDC, 1,500,000 cases and 250,000 deaths occur annually in the United States from this illness.
Most cases of septic shock affect people with compromised immunity, the elderly, and young babies. This is a serious medical condition with a mortality rate of between 25 and 50 percent. As such, treatment usually happens in hospital and, in many cases, patients admitted into the intensive care unit. Below are the leading 10 septic shock symptoms:
Symptom #1: Low Blood Pressure
While not readily recognizable without testing, low blood pressure is one of the main septic shock symptoms. It occurs as a result of dilation of most blood vessels in the body. Because sepsis results when infection gets into the bloodstream, the body’s defense mechanism releases large amounts of disease-fighting biochemicals such as cytokines.
Cytokines cause blood vessels to dilate to let blood flow easily to the infection sites. Unfortunately, when blood vessels dilate across the body, blood pressure drops substantially. This is because there is more space inside blood vessels but the volume of blood remains the same. As a result, less blood is available to fill the blood vessels for delivery to all parts of the body. Low blood pressure presents with other septic shock symptoms such as dark urine and dizziness. However, only a doctor can provide a diagnosis of sepsis or septic shock.