Sepsis is a very serious condition that occurs as a result of a complication with an infection. It occurs when chemicals that are released into the bloodstream to combat an infection trigger an inflammatory response throughout the entire body. The inflammation can cause extensive damage to various vital organs, and without treatment, those organs can fail. Additionally, if sepsis turns into septic shock, your blood pressure can suddenly and dramatically drop. For that reason, if sepsis is not treated properly and promptly, it can be life-threatening.
Sepsis occurs in three stages:
– Severe sepsis
– Septic shock
Each stage is accompanied by a collection of symptoms, though some symptoms may remain the same throughout all three stages. As mentioned, the earlier it is treated, the better the outcome will be. For that reason, it is important to be aware of the different symptoms that are indicative of sepsis.
1. Above normal temperature
During the early stages of sepsis, your body temperature can rise to 101 degrees F or higher. The cause of a fever is the immune systems response to the infection. In an effort to combat the infection, the immune system will trigger your body temperature to rise in hopes that the higher temperature will kill off the infection.
However, in many cases, a fever is not effective enough to actually fight the infection. Furthermore, a fever is a side effect of several other medical conditions, such as the flu and viral infections, which can make it difficult to accurately diagnose the condition. As a result, sepsis can be misdiagnosed, which can cause the infection to spread, advance the condition, and will eventually lead to several other adverse symptoms. Again, if misdiagnosed and not treated early enough, septic shock can occur, which can be life-threatening.