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Sepsis differs from other serious or chronic diseases that frequently lead to a hospice referral. A sepsis-related infection can swiftly spread throughout the body and worsen if it is not treated and handled rapidly.
What does septic mean, and what is the most common cause of sepsis? In this guide, we will go into depth on the topic.
What is sepsis infection?
Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by your body’s response to an infection. Our bodies release chemicals into our bloodstream when we are infected, in an effort to fight off deadly germs and viruses. When this process works as it should, your body takes care of the illness and you recover from it.
Severe sepsis can cause organs including the brain, heart, and kidneys to be deprived of blood supply due to inflammatory responses triggered by your body’s own defenses. This, in turn, can result in organ failure and tissue damage.
When the illness is at its most acute, the body’s response to infection can cause blood pressure to drop dangerously low. When this happens, it’s referred to as septic shock.
What causes septic infection?
Septic shock or sepsis can be caused by a number of different factors. One of the most prevalent causes is an infection caused by bacteria. However, it can be caused by viruses or other infectious agents. It is also caused by any form of infection. Pneumonia, a urinary tract infection, or an infection in the abdomen, such as appendicitis, are the most prevalent causes.
Infections in the lungs, stomach, kidneys, and bladder are also commonly found among sepsis-infected patients.
How do you get sepsis?
This life-threatening condition occurs when the immune system of the patient’s body is compromised by underlying health issues or long-term illnesses. When sepsis begins, it may be due to an infection that develops after surgery or from a tiny wound. When an infection you already have sets off a chain reaction in your body, you’re at risk of developing sepsis. This disease can even strike patients who had no idea they had an infection at all.
The body’s ability to fight off the infection that leads to sepsis is also hindered by factors such as poor nutrition, diminishing functional or cognitive condition, or unmanaged symptoms.
Septic shock happens when there is a substantial drop in blood pressure, which can’t be controlled with traditional therapy and occurs when sepsis becomes more severe.
Various indicators and tests, such as temperature, heart rate, breathing rate, blood and platelet counts, biomarker analysis, and other cultures and tests, are used by clinicians to diagnose sepsis and identify the source of infection.
What is the difference between septic shock and sepsis?
Sepsis can progress to septic shock when the body’s response to infection causes the patient’s blood pressure to drop dangerously low. Standard blood pressure drugs and additional fluids typically don’t work well to get blood pressure back up to normal levels.
Sepsis end of life symptoms
Health disorders like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol put people over the age of 65 at an increased risk. Those who are most prone to display symptoms include:
- Geriatric population: According to a CDC evaluation, more than 90% of individuals with sepsis had a significant medical condition that could have increased their risk of developing sepsis and septic shock in the past.
- Those with long-term health conditions (such as cancer, diabetes, lung illness, kidney disease, AIDS, or liver disease) or a compromised immune system
- Individuals receiving chemotherapy
- Those who are suffering from metabolic acidosis
- Newly recovered surgery patients
- Beneficiaries of organ donors
- Previous sepsis patients
- Patients who are currently being treated in a hospital, particularly in an intensive care unit (ICU).
- Adults with a recent hospitalization history
- Children with compromised immune systems
How long does it take before sepsis results in death?
It has been found that many people who have been diagnosed and treated for sepsis die in the months and years following their diagnosis. 40% of the research participants who made it through the first 30 days of hospital care passed away within two years. It’s unclear, though, whether the patients’ deaths mainly result from sepsis or from any coexisting illnesses.
Sepsis is a primary cause of death when treatment or medical intervention is lacking, more so than breast cancer, lung cancer, or heart attack. According to research, the illness can cause a person’s death in as little as 12 hours. A patient’s life may be saved if someone is equipped with the necessary knowledge to recognize the warning signals and seek prompt medical attention.
Is sepsis fatal?
Your body suffers more complications as sepsis worsens. Death can happen when a patient starts having any one of the below-mentioned complications:
- Kidney failure
- Amputation of fingers and toes resulting from gangrene.
- Damage to the lungs, brain, or heart.
In 25% to 40% of instances, sepsis can result in death.
Is death from sepsis painful?
Dying from sepsis is a painful event since patients with sepsis shock can die within hours or days if they don’t receive immediate medical attention and proper treatment. Patients who are older tend to have more painful deaths because they are more likely to have:
- Repeated exposure to an infectious agent
- Heart failure and organ damage
- Stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic weariness and pain
- The syndrome of systemic inflammatory response
Septic shock death timeline
Clinically identified cases of septic shock are more likely to pass away within 28 days than undiagnosed cases. Within the first week of diagnosis, sepsis that progresses to severe sepsis or septic shock increases the risk of death.
Is sepsis curable?
Sepsis can be avoided if it is diagnosed immediately and treated appropriately.
Antibiotics with a broad spectrum of activity may combat bacterial infections early on. Your doctor can treat your sepsis by giving you medication that specifically targets the bacterium that is making you sick. Vasopressors, which narrow your blood vessels, are frequently prescribed by doctors to lower blood pressure. You could also be given insulin to maintain control over your blood sugar or corticosteroids to fight inflammation.
If the disease progresses, your doctor is likely to keep you in the intensive care unit of the hospital (ICU). Your medical staff will seek to manage your blood pressure, keep your organs functioning, and stop the infection. Extra oxygen and intravenous fluids can assist with this. Most people who are diagnosed with sepsis at this early stage make a full recovery.
You could require further treatment, such as a breathing machine or renal dialysis if your condition is severe. Alternatively, you might require surgery to drain or remove an infection.
How hospice care may benefit patients and their loved ones
Many sepsis infections occur in individuals who are already very unwell, hospitalized, in the intensive care unit (ICU), or recovering from a medical procedure. The latent consequences of this sneaky disease, however, can cause elderly or disabled individuals to be adequately managed and discharged to outpatient treatment, only to start a persistent and progressive decline.
For managing long-term symptoms, addressing pain, and supporting the patient and their loved ones, hospice care can be the best option. When a doctor determines clinically that a patient has six months or less to live if their condition or disease progresses as expected, they are eligible for hospice care.
Get in touch with myallamericanhospice.com today to learn more about what you or your loved one might go through if they become sick from sepsis. Our hospice care specialists can answer all your concerns and provide you with comprehensive information on the full process of receiving hospice care.