What is sepsis and why is it an emergency?

Many medical conditions can turn life-threatening if they aren't treated promptly. While many people might think of things like heart attacks and strokes when they hear this, there are others that can be just as serious. One condition that can turn fatal quickly is sepsis.

Sepsis impacts more than 1.5 million Americans annually. Of those, at least 250,000 die. For this reason, doctors must be vigilant to check for this condition when patients may have it.

What are the symptoms of sepsis?

Sepsis causes a host of symptoms but not all patients will have every symptom. The six most common include:

  • Sweaty or clammy skin
  • Extreme discomfort or pain
  • High heart rate
  • Fever, feeling cold or shivering
  • Shortness of breath
  • Disorientation or confusion

What causes sepsis?

Sepsis is caused by an infection that is running rampant in the body. It is an extreme response to the infection that causes a chain reaction impacting the entire body. This condition can cause organ failure, tissue damage and death. The longer it goes without treatment, the more likely it will result in death.

Who is likely to develop sepsis?

Anyone who has an infection can suffer from sepsis, but there are some groups that are more likely to develop this condition. These include:

  • Children younger than one year old
  • Adults who are 65 and older
  • Immunocompromised individuals
  • Patients with chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and lung disease

For many people, a sepsis diagnosis is made when they have an infection that isn't getting better. This could be due to not getting the correct type of antibiotic. If you have an infection and don't feel better despite taking medication or if you think you have one and start to feel much worse quickly, you might have sepsis.

What should I do if I think I have sepsis?

If you have an infection and think that it might be causing sepsis, you need emergency medical care. You don't have time to wait for a doctor's appointment. Typically, you need to go to the emergency room. Be sure to let the person who does your triage know that you think you have sepsis. Be prepared to let them know what type of infection you have. This could help you to get an accurate and rapid diagnosis.

There are times when medical professionals might miss the signs of sepsis. Delayed diagnosis and missed diagnosis can be fatal in these cases. Whether you are facing medical issues due to this or have lost a loved one from it, you might choose to seek compensation via a legal action.

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