Sepsis (Septicemia) is one of the most common reasons individuals are readmitted to the hospital after a procedure or treatment for another condition, but many people do not know what it is. In addition to health concerns, this can also cause unnecessary emotional stress and financial burden. If your loved one recently visited the hospital, these answers to common questions may help you reduce the likelihood of a return trip to the hospital as a result of this serious condition.
What is Sepsis?Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.1 Sometimes, sepsis can occur as a result of contaminated blood sources during a procedure, but more commonly it happens as a result of another less-serious infection. For example, for someone whose immune system is compromised, a simple urinary tract infection (UTI) left untreated can spread to the individual’s blood and cause sepsis.
Who is Most Likely to Get Sepsis?Sepsis is triggered by an infection, which can affect people of all ages. However, some people are more likely to develop sepsis than others. The elderly and those who are extremely frail are most susceptible as their bodies are weaker and less able to fight infections that may lead to sepsis. Individuals who have multiple illnesses, people with autoimmune disorders or those undergoing chemotherapy or other drug regimens are also considered high-risk because of their weakened immune systems. Other conditions that may be more likely to develop sepsis include diabetes, heart failure, and pneumonia.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis?Sepsis symptoms include:
- High fever or shivering
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- A drop in blood pressure and/or a high heart rate
- Lack of urination
- Cognition changes, including confusion, lethargy, weakness or fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and/or fainting