What Is Sepsis?

Q:
What is sepsis?

A:
Sepsis is a life-threatening complication of an infection. Usually your immune system protects you from many illnesses and infections, but when it becomes overactive, problems occur.

In fact, anyone can develop sepsis. But it’s most common and most dangerous in older adults or those with weakened immune systems.

What are the symptoms?

Sepsis usually has three stages: sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock. Each is characterized by different symptoms. So to treat sepsis during its early stage before it becomes more dangerous, is always the goal.

Sepsis

  • Body temperature above 101 F (38.3 C) or below 96.8 F (36 C)
  • Heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute
  • Respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute
  • Probable or confirmed infection

Severe sepsis

When there’s organ failure, severe sepsis occurs. And you must have one or more of the following signs:

  • Patches of discolored skin
  • Less urination
  • Changes in mental ability
  • Low platelet (blood clotting cells) count
  • Difficult breathing
  • Abnormal heart functions
  • Chills because of fall in body temperature
  • Unconsciousness
  • Extreme weakness

Septic shock

In brief, symptoms of septic shock have all the symptoms of severe sepsis, plus a very low blood pressure.

What are the causes?

Any infection can trigger sepsis, but the following types of infections are more likely to cause sepsis:

  • Pneumonia
  • Abdominal infection
  • Kidney infection
  • Bloodstream infection

The following are the possible reasons for the increase of the condition:

  • Aging population
  • Drug-resistant bacteria
  • Weakened immune systems

Whenever you have any of the above symptom, it’s important to seek immediate medical help. The earlier you seek treatment, the greater your chances of survival.

 

Keywords: sepsis

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.