Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that is caused by your body’s response to an infection. While the human immune system is designed to protect us from various illnesses and infections, it’s also possible for the immune system to over-respond when an infection is present. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sepsis kills almost 270,000 people in the US each year and there are around 1.7 million cases annually.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a condition that develops when an extreme immune system response is triggered in your body in response to an existing infection. When you have an infection, your immune system releases chemicals and proteins to fight it off as a response. However, when this response gets out of control, it triggers extensive inflammation and leads to sepsis. Most of the time, bacterial infections will be the main cause behind sepsis. However, it can also be caused by viral and fungal infections. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, a rapid heart rate, and fever. This condition requires fast medical attention, as if left untreated it can lead to septic shock, which leads to organ failure, tissue damage, and a drop in blood pressure.
There are three main stages of sepsis:
- An infection enters the bloodstream, causing inflammation in the body.
- The infection and inflammation become severe enough to begin affecting the organ function.
- Septic shock occurs, which is a severe complication that leads to a significant blood pressure drop and other serious complications.
In some cases, sepsis can occur as a result of infections that stem from medical negligence or malpractice. Some people develop sepsis while in hospital or when getting other medical treatments. If you believe that a poor standard of medical care led you or a loved one to develop sepsis, then it might be worth checking out these sepsis malpractice settlements for more information.
Signs and Symptoms
If you have developed any potential symptoms or signs of sepsis, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The sooner you are treated, the better your chance of recovery. Not everybody who gets sepsis will experience the same symptoms, which is why it’s important to get medical help if you notice any and have an infection. Symptoms include fever, chills, difficulty breathing, disorientation, and confusion, low blood pressure, sweaty skin, a fast heart rate, or extreme pain.
If the sepsis has progressed into a more severe stage, then there may be even more worrisome symptoms present. These may include difficulty breathing, changes to your mental ability, abnormal heart functions, a blue discoloration of the skin, decreased urination, a drop in body temperature, extreme weakness, unconsciousness, and a low platelet count. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention as a matter of emergency. Many of the symptoms of severe sepsis can overlap with the symptoms of septic shock, which can be fatal if left untreated.
Sepsis is an over-response to an infection in the body and can be a very dangerous condition.