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Sepsis is a serious illness. It happens when your body has an overwhelming immune response to a bacterial infection. The chemicals released into the blood to fight the infection trigger widespread inflammation. This leads to blood clots and leaky blood vessels. They cause poor blood flow, which deprives your body's organs of nutrients and oxygen. In severe cases, one or more organs fail. In the worst cases, blood pressure drops and the heart weakens, leading to septic shock.

Anyone can get sepsis, but the risk is higher in

  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Infants and children
  • The elderly
  • People with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, AIDS, cancer, and kidney or liver disease
  • People suffering from a severe burn or physical trauma

Common symptoms of sepsis are fever, chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, rash, confusion, and disorientation. Doctors diagnose sepsis using a blood test to see if the number of white blood cells is abnormal. They also do lab tests that check for signs of infection.

People with sepsis are usually treated in hospital intensive care units. Doctors try to treat the infection, sustain the vital organs, and prevent a drop in blood pressure. Many patients receive oxygen and intravenous (IV) fluids. Other types of treatment, such as respirators or kidney dialysis, may be necessary. Sometimes, surgery is needed to clear up an infection.

NIH: National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Symptoms of Sepsis

The following features are indicative of Sepsis:
  • fever
  • increased heart rate
  • increased breathing rate
  • confusion
  • significantly decreased urine output
  • abrupt change in mental status
  • decrease in platelet count
  • difficulty breathing
  • abnormal heart pumping function
  • abdominal pain
It is possible that Sepsis shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
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Common Causes of Sepsis

The following are the most common causes of Sepsis:
  • kidney infection
  • abdominal infection
  • pneumonia
  • bacteremia
  • weakened immune systems
  • older age

Risk Factors for Sepsis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Sepsis:
  • older age
  • patients with compromised immune system

Prevention of Sepsis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Sepsis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • get vaccinated against the flu, pneumonia that could lead to sepsis
  • practicing good hygiene
  • cleaning scrapes and wound are properly

Occurrence of Sepsis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Sepsis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Sepsis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Sepsis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Sepsis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Sepsis:
  • Blood tests: To detect the infection, clotting problems and electrolyte imbalances in your blood sample
  • Urine test: To determine the urinary tract infection
  • Wound secretions test: To diagnose the sepsis
  • Respiratory secretions test: To determine what type of germ is causing the respiratory infection
  • X-ray: To detect problems in your lungs
  • Computerized tomography: To evaluate infections in your appendix, pancreas or bowels
  • Ultrasound: To detect infections in your gallbladder or ovaries
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: To diagnose soft tissue infections, such as abscesses within your spine

Doctor for Diagnosis of Sepsis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Sepsis:
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Sepsis if untreated

Yes, Sepsis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Sepsis is left untreated:
  • organ failure
  • gangrene
  • thrombocytopenia
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Sepsis

The following procedures are used to treat Sepsis:
  • Surgery: To eliminate the sources of infection, such as collections of pus

Self-care for Sepsis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Sepsis:
  • Educate patients and their families: To prevent the infections and helps in treating sepsis
  • Prevent infections: Follow infection control requirements such as, hand hygiene

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Sepsis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Sepsis:
  • Use Xubijing and Rhubarb: Helps in the management of sepsis and improves the survival rate

Patient Support for Treatment of Sepsis

The following actions may help Sepsis patients:
  • Supportive care: Helps in coping people with severe sepsis

Time for Treatment of Sepsis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Sepsis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Sepsis.

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