Sepsis – how to spot the warning signs, symptoms and dangers

Even though it is more common than heart attacks, less is known about the disease, few recognise the symptoms and doctors struggle to diagnose it

Sepsis causes 44,000 deaths across the UK every single year.

But medical experts say it is being mistaken for everyday illnesses, like the flu.

The disease is commonly known as blood poisoning and is considered far more dangerous than these common bugs.

It is considered more dangerous than cancer, with more people dying from it than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined.

Every year, 150,000 people in the UK develop sepsis with 44,000 of those people dying.

It costs the NHS £2.93billion a year.

Survivors are often left with life changing disabilities, like amputated limbs.

Even though it is more common than heart attacks, less is known about the disease, few recognise the symptoms and doctors struggle to diagnose it.

According to the NHS, sepsis or septicaemia, is triggered by an infection or injury.

The body’s immune system begins to work in overdrive to combat infection, which can lead to a reduced blood supply to vital organs.

What are the symptoms?

The NHS have released a list of symptoms to look out for, from early signs of the disease to symptoms of septic shock.

Early symptoms of sepsis may include:

a high temperature (fever) or low body temperature
chills and shivering
a fast heartbeat
fast breathing
Symptoms of more severe sepsis or septic shock (when your blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level) can develop soon after.

These can include:

feeling dizzy or faint

a change in mental state, such as confusion or disorientation

diarrhoea

nausea and vomiting

slurred speech

severe muscle pain

severe breathlessness

less urine production than normal (for example, not urinating for a day)

cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin

loss of consciousness

How is sepsis treated?

The early stages of sepsis can be treated with antibiotics at home. The prognosis for these people is good, with most making a full recovery.

As the disease progresses, people will need to be admitted to hospital – even an intensive care unit.

Treatment at hospital involves:

giving antibiotics
giving fluids intravenously
giving oxygen if levels are low
treating the source of the infection
increase blood pressure
Who’s at risk?

Anyone can develop sepsis if they have an injury or infection.

However there are people who are more vulnerable to the disease, like people with a weak immune system, people already in hospital with a serious illness, the very young, the very old and people who have just had surgery or been in an accident.

Source: http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/health/sepsis-how-spot-warning-signs-476720

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