Sepsis is a condition whereby the body overreacts to an infection. It is a very serious condition. It is also referred to as systemic inflammatory response syndrome. It is important to understand that the main cause of infections is bacteria. Once you get an infection, your body tries to fight it off within the affected part of the body.
It is important to note that not all symptoms of sepsis have been reported; therefore, you should always seek medical advice whenever you notice anything irregular.The signs and symptoms of sepsis include the following:
- Fast breathing
- Chills and/or severe shaking
- Getting confused
- Producing very little urine or none at all
- Fever or a very low body temperature also known as hypothermia
- Very fast and/or irregular heartbeat
It is important to never ignore any signs and to notify your doctor immediately if you experience the following symptoms:
- You have a serious fever
- Or if you have any question concerning your condition.
It is important to note that any kind of infection in the body has the ability to trigger sepsis. Sepsis can affect anyone regardless of the age bracket. However, the risk of sepsis increases significantly if you are in the following situations or have the following conditions:
- You are genetically prone to sepsis.
- You are extremely old or very young.
- Your immune system is generally weak.
- You had surgery previously.
- You are currently receiving treatment in the hospital for a very serious illness.
- You have severe injuries, for example, large burns.
There are various methods used by doctors to diagnose sepsis. Most of these procedures require samples from the body such as blood and urine. The methods include;
- Blood tests: Blood can be taken from the arm or hand in order for your doctor to know how your body is currently working.
- Blood gases: This is whereby blood is extracted from the artery in your wrist, groin or even your arm. The blood is then tested to determine the exact amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood. This procedure is done by the doctor to see how well your lungs are working, and it can also be referred to as arterial blood gas (ABG).
- Urine sample: This test requires you to urinate in a small container without touching the inside of the container. It is important to strictly follow the doctor's instructions when giving a urine sample.
- Chest x-ray: A chest x-ray is simply a picture of your heart and lungs. Your doctor uses it to monitor the condition of your heart and lungs. The x-rays are also used to show any signs of pneumonia or signs of collapsed lungs.
Because sepsis is a very critical condition, it is usually treated in the intensive care unit of a hospital in order to control the condition. Treatment of sepsis may involve the following:
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics are medicines that are given to help prevent infections caused by bacteria in the body.
- Steroids: These drugs are given to reduce inflammation in the affected area.
- Heart medicine: This medicine is given to regulate and to strengthen your heartbeat. It can also be used to help the heart in other ways that you could ask your doctor about.
- Vasopressors: These drugs help to increase the blood flow and the blood pressure.
- Surgery can also be used to remedy this condition.