Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Killer Within

This may seem like a strange topic to blog about but as someone with a weakened immune system due to repeated bouts with bronchitis and pneumonia (meaning I catch one or the other every year, at least once, ever since being hospitalized as a child) this topic caught my attention and kind of scared the beejeezus out of me.

Sepsis, the body's inflammatory response to an infection -- can kill quickly. Sepsis is a serious medical condition characterized by a whole-body inflammatory condition and the presence of a known or suspected infection. The body may develop this inflammatory response to microbes in the blood, urine, lungs (ie. bronchitis and pneumonia), skin or other tissues

Severe sepsis occurs when sepsis leads to organ dysfunction, low blood pressure, or insufficient blood flow to one or more organs. Sepsis can lead to septic shock, multiple organ dysfunction and death - within a few hours.

Muppets creator Jim Henson died in 1990 from a case of sepsis that started out as pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs. He was 53.

A fever, a dramatic shift in blood pressure, rapid breathing and extreme confusion are all signs that someone needs quick medical help. Feeling bad all over, a high temperature and either high or low blood pressure, are all indications that your whole system has been infected. It could be sepsis.

The therapy of sepsis rests on antibiotics, surgical drainage of infected fluid areas, fluid replacement and appropriate support for organ dysfunction.

No comments: