A lot of people have heard of sepsis but don’t really know what it is. Do you?
Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. In other words, it’s your body’s overactive and toxic response to an infection.
Sepsis can lead to severe sepsis and septic shock. Like strokes or heart attacks, it is a medical emergency that requires rapid diagnosis and treatment. Sepsis kills 350,000 adults each year in the United States.
September is Sepsis Awareness Month, so we’re going to be spreading the word to our team members and to the public about sepsis – what is it, why is it a critical issue, what do you need to know about it, and much more.
Ballad Health has made sepsis prevention a major focus, due to the fact that it creates so many serious issues with our patients. Sepsis can lead to worse outcomes, longer and more expensive treatments and more readmissions. If we decrease the number of sepsis cases, we’ll see better patient outcomes.
A few quick facts on sepsis:
- Patients are diagnosed with sepsis when they develop a set of signs and symptoms related to sepsis. Sepsis is not diagnosed based on an infection itself.
- Some people are at higher risk of developing sepsis because they are at higher risk of contracting an infection infants, the very old, those with chronic illnesses, and those with a weakened or impaired immune system.
- Sepsis progresses to severe sepsis when, in addition to signs of sepsis, there are signs of organ dysfunction, such as difficulty breathing (problems with the lungs), low or no urine output (kidneys), abnormal liver tests (liver), and changes in mental status (brain). Nearly all patients with severe sepsis require treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU).
- Septic shock is the most severe level and is diagnosed when your blood pressure drops to dangerous levels.
Until a cure for sepsis is found, early detection and treatment is essential for survival and limiting disability for survivors.
Be on the lookout for more messages in Ballad Health News, on social media and in other outlets this month on what you need to know about sepsis!