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Sepsis Symptoms

What is Sepsis:

Sepsis is a serious medical condition caused by the body’s reponse to an infection. It is also known as systematic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).

The infection can be caused by bacteria, virus or fungus and may originate in any part of the body such as lungs, intestines or urinary tract. The toxins made out of bacteria causes the immune system to attack body’s own organs and tissues. Sepsis spreads through blood and can lead to widespread inflammation and blood clotting.

Here are few symptoms of sepsis:

  • Fever above 101.3 F (38.5 C) or below 95 F (35 C)
  • Rapid breathing at the rate of 20 breaths a minute
  • Fast heart rate, about 90 beats a minute
  • Sudden hypothermia or very low body temperature
  • Decreased urine output
  • Chills and severe shaking
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Dizziness
  • Decrease alertness
  • Pain in joints
  • Warm skin or a skin rash
  • Reddish discoloration or small red spots through out the body

All the above symptoms with acute low blood pressure is called septic shock. Septic shock is the most life threatening condition and needs immediate medical concern. Septic shock is dealt in intensive care units (ICUs) of the hospital.

Multiple organ failure is one more severe complication of sepsis and is the leading cause of deaths among the patients suffering with sepsis.

Less Known Symptoms of Sepsis in Adults: The following signs along with the more common symptoms were established in 1992 at the American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine Consensus Conference. Diagnosis of two or more symptoms form the criteria on which a person is found to be suffering from sepsis:

  • When the white blood cell count is less than 4000 cells/mm³ or greater than 12,000 cells/mm³
  • Arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide less than 4.3 kPa or 32 mmHg
  • Presence of 10 percent or more of immature neutrophils

Symptoms of Sepsis Which are Treated as Criteria for the Disease in Children are:

  • Heart rate greater than 2 standard deviations above the normalcy of age.
  • Unexplained persistent rise in the heart rate for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
  • In babies, heart rate to decrease 10 percentile less tahn the normalcy of age.
  • Persistent and unexplained decrease in heart rate for more than 30 minutes.
  • Requirement for mechanical ventilation
  • Body temperature between 36-38.5 degree Celsius in children.
  • Abnormally high body temperature in babies.

Facts and Statistics on Sepsis:

  • A condition called hyperventilation and change in mental status are the earliest signs of this disease.
  • Kidneys, liver, central nervous system and lungs are the major organs which stop functioning in an individual in the later stages.
  • Meningitis is a condition which generally accompanies sepsis. It affects the bone in the children which is technically called osteomyelitis.
  • Patients who are hospitalized complain of infections due to surgical drains, wounds, intravenous lines and bedsores along with sepsis.
  • 60 percent people suffering from medical condition at the time of diagnosis of sepsis ending up losing their lives.

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