In the case of blood poisoning or sepsis, an infection occurs that spreads throughout the body via the blood or blood vessels and can thus permanently damage other internal organs. Medical treatment is urgently required for blood poisoning.
What is blood poisoning or sepsis?
According to gradchem, blood poisoning is an infectious disease. Blood poisoning is also known as sepsis. If blood poisoning occurs, it is not only local, but it spreads over the entire body. As it spreads in the body, blood poisoning can be very dangerous and cause massive damage. The numerous organs in the body in particular can be damaged by blood poisoning.
In the case of blood poisoning, a distinction is made between several forms of expression. One subdivides into normal blood poisoning (sepsis), severe sepsis and septic shock. In the past, blood poisoning was not only referred to as sepsis, but also as wound rot, as most blood poisoning could be attributed to poor hygiene. Many people assume that blood poisoning shows up in the form of a red line that moves in the direction of the heart.
However, this is only partially true. The red line is only evident in lymphangitis, which is also incorrectly referred to as blood poisoning. The chances of recovery from lymphangitis are usually better than from conventional blood poisoning, which can be very complicated to heal. In some cases, lymphangitis can also result in blood poisoning if complications arise from the aforementioned lymphangitis.
Blood poisoning can have various causes. In most cases, bacteria, viruses or fungi in the body are responsible for blood poisoning.
If the body is unable to fight this infection with antibodies or its own immune system, the infection can spread over the whole body via the bloodstream.
In most cases, certain infectious diseases are responsible for blood poisoning. For example, pneumonia, wound infections or catheter infections.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
In the early stages, blood poisoning (sepsis) is usually not easy to diagnose because the side effects are unspecific and can also occur in numerous other diseases. Many people who have developed sepsis have a high fever, which is one of the main symptoms of blood poisoning. Very often the fever is accompanied by chills.
In rare cases, however, the body temperature drops below 36 degrees Celsius. If the brain has been affected, those affected are often confused. The condition can range from mild disturbances of consciousness to delirium.
The patients are restless and suffer from disorientation, and incomprehensible, incoherent speech is possible. Another common symptom is a racing heart, or at least a significantly accelerated heartbeat with a pulse of more than 90 beats per minute. In addition, there is often accelerated breathing. Low blood pressure is also not uncommon.
The symptoms of sepsis can overlap with those of the underlying disease and are covered by these, especially in the early phase. For example, a high fever and chills are also typical of appendicitis.
There is also a widespread misconception that a red line moving towards the heart indicates blood poisoning. However, this symptom points to another disease, namely lymphangitis, i.e. an inflammation of the lymphatic system.
The course of the disease in the case of blood poisoning is usually identical. Therefore, the disease can be optimally treated with various antibiotics. In most cases, blood poisoning is recognized too late.
The process therefore often ends with death, as the blood runs or flows several times throughout the body, including the organs, within a day.
The vital organs such as the lungs, the heart or the liver are affected after just a few hours. After the organs have been supplied with the contaminated blood, this leads to a circulatory shock, kidney failure and also to a failure of the lungs and the liver.
If left untreated, sepsis leads to death, the probability of this increasing by one percent with every hour. This is particularly dangerous because the symptoms are not correctly assessed and incorrectly assigned quickly enough. Depending on the organ affected, local complications such as abscesses can occur. In the case of the central nervous system, meningitis (meningitis) also develops.
If a septic shock occurs in the course of the disease, in which the circulation fails and the organs are no longer adequately supplied with blood, the risk to one’s own survival increases considerably. Whether such a reaction occurs depends on the one hand on the severity of the blood poisoning and on the other hand on timely medical intervention. Both of these also have an effect on consequential damage after the treatment.
Even months later, those affected can suffer from nerve damage, muscle weakness or movement disorders. In addition, depression and other illnesses are possible because of the increased psychological stress. It also becomes complicated if the right antibiotic cannot be found straight away.
To do this, the source of the infection with the relevant pathogen must be identified in order to be able to fall back on the most effective drug. In addition, possible resistances must be taken into account, as certain bacteria no longer respond adequately to frequently used antibiotics.
When should you go to the doctor?
Blood poisoning, also known as sepsis, should not be underestimated. If left untreated, sepsis can get out of control. In such cases there is an acute danger to life.
Blood poisoning is always caused by a previous infection. Open wounds, pneumonia or even appendicitis can trigger blood poisoning. As a rule, a healthy immune system is able to fight the pathogens that have entered the body and the infection heals up. If the immune system fails to keep the pathogens in check, they enter the bloodstream.
It is therefore important to always have an infection treated by a doctor in order to minimize the risk of sepsis.
If blood poisoning does occur, it must be treated in hospital. The pathogen is found there by means of blood tests. In this way, the attending physician can administer the appropriate antibiotic. In severe cases of sepsis, the circulation and possibly affected organs are also supported with appropriate medication.
It is not possible to safely protect yourself from blood poisoning. However, the risk of infections spreading in the body is significantly lower when the immune system is intact. A healthy diet and exercise support the body’s defenses so that blood poisoning does not even develop.
Treatment & Therapy
Blood poisoning can also be treated or treated. In most cases this is done with antibiotics. In addition, methods such as ventilation, kidney replacement procedures (dialysis, hemofiltration), shock treatment, artificial nutrition with the addition of insulin, or replacement of blood cells and blood substances can also help.
In order to prevent blood poisoning and the mostly unfortunate outcome, you can have regular tetanus vaccinations or make sure you have an intact immune system. If the immune system is healthy and stable, the body is not so easily accessible to foreign pathogens and can actively fight them. The immune system can be strengthened, for example, through a healthy diet and lots of exercise. In the case of an infectious disease, you should also consult a doctor immediately to prevent blood poisoning from breaking out.
Outlook & forecast
If the body cannot efficiently suppress the invading germs, sepsis occurs. If there is no medical therapy, the pathogen quickly spreads over the entire organism. As a consequence, severe damage to blood vessels or even failure of individual organs can occur.
The danger of blood poisoning depends on the bacterium and the general physical condition of the patient. The cardiovascular system often collapses later. Because of the lack of blood flow to vital organs, those affected suffer septic shock. Otherwise, impaired kidney function may make it necessary to clean the blood regularly with the help of dialysis.
Other long-term consequences include irreparable nerve damage or pronounced muscle weakness. Serious complications or permanent impairments are usually avoided with early therapy. But there are also exceptions in which those affected do not respond to any medication. Such courses usually end fatally. Therefore, acting quickly and contacting a doctor immediately is a basic requirement for a good prognosis.
If the necessary therapy is not provided for more than 24 hours, the death rate is around a quarter of all those affected. Life expectancy is even worse with severe organ damage or septic shock. In these cases, between 50% and 60% of the victims lose their lives. The time factor is therefore crucial for a positive prognosis. With preventive measures in the event of injuries through adequate hygiene and adequate wound care, blood poisoning can often be prevented in advance or at least greatly reduced.
If there is simple or mild sepsis, there is often no need for follow-up care. Subsequent complaints rarely arise in retrospect, so that subsequent examinations can be dispensed with entirely. The situation is different, however, if there is severe blood poisoning. The more severe the sepsis, the more medical care is necessary afterwards.
In particularly bad cases, affected people have to live with regular dialysis for the rest of their lives. In addition, sepsis can cause muscle weakness, so that entire movement sequences have to be relearned afterwards. A complete aftercare program tailored to sepsis patients is currently being developed by researchers.
This includes special training for general practitioners so that the general quality of life of sepsis patients should be significantly increased. Follow-up care for survived sepsis is not necessary if it is mild. A full recovery does not depend on further visits to the doctor. The situation is different, however, if a severe sepsis has been overcome.
Under certain circumstances, consequential damage remains that absolutely requires follow-up care. Otherwise, consequential damage may remain that can no longer be restored. For this reason, further follow-up examinations are sensible and essential if a blood poisoning that has been overcome wants to be cured 100 percent.
You can do that yourself
If blood poisoning is suspected, a doctor should be consulted. Various home remedies help against the accompanying symptoms of blood poisoning. For example, a brew made from masterwort, arnica, angelica and bibernelle, which is taken in small sips throughout the day, is effective. Garlic juice, which is applied to the fresh wound and quickly kills the bacteria, also helps. Likewise, aloe vera and the juice of marigold prevent the onset of inflammation.
However, if blood poisoning has already occurred, a doctor must be called in. Until the doctor’s visit, possible causes for the sepsis can be determined and recorded in a medical diary. The trigger must then be treated with the use of antibiotics. In addition, you should drink a lot and regularly to compensate for the loss of fluids. Sometimes it also makes sense to take dietary supplements and blood sugar-lowering medication.
The most effective home remedy is rest and bed rest. Those affected should also only consume light, protein-rich foods, such as vegetable broth, steamed vegetables or salad. Depending on the severity of the blood poisoning, therapy can either be done at home or in the intensive care unit.