Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Septic Shock Devastates the Body with Bacteria

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Septic Shock Devastates the Body with Bacteria

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: My brother died from what was described as septic shock. I understand that this is a bacterial infection in the blood. I am writing for some words of explanation on this apparently mysterious ailment. I am so sorry to hear of your family's loss.

Septic shock is difficult to treat, and death often occurs.

You have the right idea: It is a case of the body being helpless in the face of a massive bacterial blood infection.

Usually, the body handles the occasional presence of a few bacteria in the blood. They're destroyed, and that's the end of it. But this "sepsis" - the name we have for the event - too often gets out of control, producing fast-moving events.

The culprit in septic shock is the poison the bacteria produce. The toxin lowers blood pressure, shuts down blood vessels and creates a dangerously weak heartbeat. Few patients survive.

One might wonder how such a massive number of bacteria can get into the blood. A common source is a lung teeming with germs - pneumonia. Sepsis can also stem from a serious kidney infection or from a number of other sources.


Dear Dr. Donohue: Here's one for you. Will taking a mixture of apple cider vinegar and juice leech calcium from our bones? Vinegar does a great job of removing calcium and other minerals from pots and pans and water glasses. But for humans? What do you think?

It won't leech calcium from your bones.

I am thankful, though, for your household tip.

This is not the first time I have been asked about the vinegar cocktail idea. I have to wonder what the great attraction is here.


Dear Dr. Donohue: We've heard that elephants are vegetarians and they live to be 100 years old. Lions and tigers are meat eaters and they live only 10 to 15 years. Is that true? Does it prove that a vegetarian diet is the best kind? Does it mean that vegetarians should live longer than other people? …

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