Everything About Sepsis Infection, Its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


Everything About Sepsis Infection, Its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Sepsis is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about blood infection. According to a survey, sepsis takes more lives in India than in other South Asian countries. More than half of the patients in intensive care units (ICUs) in India usually suffer from sepsis. Such cases have increased sharply over the years, and there is hardly any awareness about this life-threatening blood infection.

Here is all you need to know about sepsis, its symptoms, causes and treatment.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis happens when chemicals start releasing in the bloodstream to fight an infection that triggers inflammation, becoming a life-threatening emergency. This causes a cascade of bodily changes that damage multiple organ systems, such as the lungs, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract, leading them to fail, sometimes even resulting in death.  It can have severe complications that can’t be cured if it goes uncontrollable. In this case, only immediate medical assistance can increase the chances of survival.

Stages of Sepsis Infection

Sepsis has three stages, and none of them is less severe than any of the stages. Stages are- 

Sepsis- The infection gets into your bloodstream resulting in inflammation.

Severe Sepsis- It causes severe illness and inflammation that affects organ function.

Septic Shock- This leads to even more severe complications of sepsis, causing a major drop in blood pressure resulting in-

  • Stroke
  • Heart Failure
  • Organ dysfunction
  • Death

Although sepsis occurs mainly in hospitals while you suffer from other ailments, it can also happen while sitting at home and fighting an infection that could lead to sepsis.

Sepsis Infection Causes

Although any infection can trigger sepsis, below listed are the types of infections that possess a higher risk of sepsis infection-

sepsis infection causes

Possible reasons for the increase in sepsis infection also include:-

  • Ageing individuals as their immunity get weaker over time.
  • When someone has antibiotic resistance, they directly lose the ability to resist or kill bacteria.
  • People with pre-existing illnesses that weaken their immune systems

Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis Infection

Getting immediate medical attention is important if you experience anything alarming. Below mentioned are a few common symptoms of sepsis infection-

  • Chills and/or fever
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Breathlessness or difficulty in breathing
  • Low blood pressure or fast heart rate
  • Unbearable pain
  • Moist or sweaty skin

In some cases where children and adults have communication challenges, dementia or learning disabilities, it becomes hard to identify the symptoms. Seeking medical assistance right away can lower the chances of severity.

>> Also Read: Blood Clots: Know the Causes, Risks, Symptoms and Treatment

Signs and Symptoms of Severe Sepsis

Severe sepsis leads to complete organ failure. Below are the most common symptoms one can experience in case of severe sepsis-

  • Breathlessness
  • Skin colour turning discoloured or into blue colour, especially lips, toes and fingers
  • Drop in body temperature leading to chills
  • Reduced urination
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation or change in mental ability
  • Extreme weakness (asthenia)
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
  • Heart functioning abnormally 
  • Loss of consciousness 

Signs and Symptoms of Septic Shock (Septicemia)

When the sepsis infection is left untreated, it leads to septicemia. Septic can advance really fast to severe sepsis and then septic shock. This transition is more lethal. Below are the symptoms the patient could experience during a septic shock-

  • Serious difficulty while breathing
  • Chronic confusion
  • Pale and bluish skin
  • Extremely low blood pressure

Who All Are at Risk of Catching Sepsis Infection?

Any severe injury, infection or serious non-communicable disease can progress to sepsis. Also, there is vulnerability among the kind of people who have the below-mentioned conditions-

  • Aged people
  • Pregnant Women
  • Newborns
  • Already hospitalised patients
  • Patients in ICUs
  • HIV Patients
  • Patients with liver cirrhosis
  • Patients with cancer
  • Patients with kidney disease
  • Patients with autoimmune diseases
  • Patients with no spleen.

How is Sepsis Infection Diagnosed?

It is necessary to identify someone with an infection that may develop into sepsis. Although there is no specific diagnosis to diagnose sepsis, a health expert, your doctor may recommend the following tests to identify sepsis-

Blood tests- Blood cultures and complete blood count (CBC) tests to diagnose abnormal liver and kidney function, electrolyte abnormalities and clotting problems.

Blood oxygen level (SPO2)- This test helps to evaluate the oxygen level in your blood.

Urine tests- Tests like urine culture and urinalysis

Imaging tests- Tests like X-rays or CT scans.

Sepsis Treatment

The treatment of sepsis requires to start as soon as any sign or symptom proves it could be sepsis. If you are diagnosed with sepsis, your health expert will first put you in the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) to begin the treatment. Following are the treatments you may receive to treat sepsis-

  • Antibiotics
  • IV (intravenous) Fluids
  • Vasopressor Medications
  • Appropriate Supportive Care
  • Surgery

Summing It Up

Sepsis is undoubtedly a deadly health condition if not diagnosed in time. To keep yourself safe, beware of all the possible alarming symptoms. This health condition arises due to chronic diseases such as cancer, liver cirrhosis, etc., which may end up exhausting all your savings. To cover yourself against such chronic illnesses, availing of critical health insurance by Care Health Insurance can come to your rescue and save you from shelling out your money on hospitalisation and treatment.

Disclaimer: The information mentioned above is for reference purposes only. Also, kindly consult a professional medical expert to verify the details of health concerns.

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