Sepsis is a response to infection. In some cases, the body has an extreme reaction to the chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight invaders, and the changes that occur cause multi-system organ damage. When sepsis progresses to this point, it is called septic shock. This medical emergency can lead to death if not treated promptly.


1. Causes of Septic Shock

The most common cause of septic shock is a hospital-acquired infection. Immunocompromised patients and those with chronic illnesses are more at risk. Septic shock can also occur after surgery if the surgical site becomes infected. Toxic shock is an uncommon form of septic shock caused by staph and strep infections.

Sepsis Septic Shock Justin Paget / Getty Images

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