Common bathroom issue could signal sepsis – can lead to multiple organ failure

Sepsis: Dr Chris reveals how to reduce risk of infection

The UK Sepsis Trust adds sepsis causes 48,000 deaths in the UK each year, with nearly 80,000 people suffering from life-changing after-effects.

Better awareness of the condition, however, could save thousands of lives a year.

Sepsis is a “serious complication of an infection”, the NHS says, adding that without prompt treatment it can lead to “multiple organ failure and death”.

While a fairly common experience, the NHS warns that diarrhoea could be a sign of severe sepsis or septic shock.

Symptoms can include:

  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • A change in mental state – like confusion or disorientation
  • 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.

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Earlier symptoms might involve fever, chill, shivering, a fast heartbeat, and fast breathing.

What causes sepsis?

Usually, when a person experiences an infection, the body produces white blood cells.

The NHS explains: “White blood cells travel to an infection site to destroy the germs causing the infection.

“This triggers tissue swelling, known as inflammation. This helps to fight the infection and prevent it from spreading.”

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If the infection is severe, or if the immune system is weak, the infection could spread to other parts of the body.

“Widespread inflammation can damage tissue and interfere with blood flow,” the health body adds.

“When blood flow is interrupted, blood pressure can drop dangerously low. This stops oxygen from reaching the organs and tissues.”

Most commonly, sepsis can be triggered by an infection of the lungs, urinary tract, abdomen, or pelvis.

Anybody suspecting sepsis should seek prompt medical advice as it could lead to long-term consequences.

The main treatment for sepsis is antibiotics given directly into a vein within a hospital setting.

Treatment may be ongoing for up to 10 days, or more, to clear the infection.

Without a quick medical assessment, you are risking your long-term health and life.

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