10 Symptoms of Sepsis

Sepsis is a serious medical condition that occurs when your body overreacts to a detected threat, such as bacteria, fungus, or a virus enters your bloodstream. The infection in the blood is called septicemia. Your body sends an overabundance of chemicals into your bloodstream to fight the infection, thereby causing uncontrolled, widespread inflammation. If left untreated, it can lead to organ failure or even become life-threatening as the infection moves on to later stages and cause septic shock.

While sepsis can most certainly affect anyone, the elderly, those with a weakened immune system, babies less than 3 months old, and people with diabetes are more at risk of getting an infection. Bacteria in the bloodstream is oftentimes the culprit. A simple papercut on your finger or scraped elbow can serve as a gateway to allow bacteria to enter your body. Other medical conditions, such as pneumonia or meningitis, can also put an individual at risk. With early detection, the condition is most commonly treated with antibiotics as most cases result from a bacterial infection. Advanced stages of sepsis will require more aggressive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, vasopressor medication, support for failing organs, or even surgery to remove sources of infection.

Read on to learn more about the condition’s symptoms.

1. Low Blood Pressure

An individual’s blood pressure tells how well blood is moving throughout their circulatory system. As the heart beats, blood is pumped throughout the body, delivering oxygen and energy. Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, generally occurs when the systolic pressure (pressure exerted against artery walls during heart beats) in the arteries is less than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or the diastolic pressure (pressure exerted against artery walls when the heart is resting) is less than 60 mm HG during a blood pressure reading. Medical guidelines establish 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic) as normal blood pressure.

If adequate pressure if not maintained, low levels of pressure will not supply enough blood to the body’s organs, potentially causing shock to occur. Those who have experienced decreased blood pressure reported feeling faint, dizzy, nausea, fatigued, and had a lack of concentration as some of their symptoms. Extreme hypotension signs include weak and rapid pulse, rapid and shallow breathing, cold and clammy skin, and a state of confusion. When septicemia occurs in the body, it can cause seriously decreased blood pressure called septic shock. The most severe out of three stages (sepsis, severe sepsis), septic shock can bring about the failure of organs, stroke or death.