Did you know that approximately only 55% of Americans have heard of sepsis? It is currently the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Sepsis (also informally known as blood poisoning) is a complication caused by the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection. It occurs when chemicals released in the bloodstream to fight an infection triggers inflammation throughout the body and without immediate treatment, can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Common symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing, elevated heart rate, low blood pressure, and disorientation or confusion. Sepsis symptoms are similar to many other common conditions and disorders, making it difficult to diagnose.
Anyone can develop sepsis, but those with weakened immune systems like infants, children and the elderly are the most vulnerable. Those who have experienced a severe burn or physical trauma or those with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, AIDS, cancer and kidney or liver disease, are also at increased risk. According to the Sepsis Alliance, over 26 million people worldwide are affected by sepsis annually and it is the leading cause of death in children and newborn infants.
Many doctors view sepsis as a three-stage syndrome starting with sepsis, progressing through severe sepsis to septic shock. Currently, the CDC is working to increase awareness and the need to prevent and urgently treat sepsis among the public, healthcare providers, and healthcare facilities.
Death from sepsis increases 8% every hour that treatment is delayed. As many as 80% of sepsis deaths could be prevented with rapid diagnosis and treatment. With this information, we urge you to learn about sepsis and its symptoms.
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Information resources: Sepsis Alliance, Center of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and Mayo Clinic.