Overview of Septicemia
Septicemia is characterized by presence of bacterial growth in the blood. Other terms used for this situation are blood poisoning or bacteremia. Septicemia is a life threatening situation and lead to systemic infection as the pathogen is transferred to different parts of the body. Septicemia can lead to sepsis, if proper measures are not taken to eradicate the pathogen from the blood. Sepsis involves the severe damage of organs and tissues as the immune system against pathogen affects its own system. It has been estimated by National Institute of Health that about 1 million Americans suffer from sepsis and about 50% die from sepsis, each year.
Causes and Risk Factors of Septicemia
Usually, septicemia starts with an infection in skin, lungs or kidneys and then it enters the bloodstream. In this way, bacteria and toxins produced by them get spread throughout the body and invade different tissues and organs. This lead to inflammation throughout the body. If left untreated sepsis can cause septic shock which is characterized by fatal decrease in blood pressure. Any kind of severe infection can lead to septicemia but the most common infections that have been associated with it include, infection of kidneys, lungs, urinary tract and gastrointestinal tract. Blood is a nutrient rich medium and once bacteria enter the blood, they grow and multiply at an exponential rate leading to severe medical implications in short time period. Individuals admitted in hospitals or have frequent exposure to hospital environments are at high risk of developing septicemia. Other risk factors of septicemia include, severe burns, deep wounds, infants, elderly, immunocompromised individuals, on ventilators, have intravenous or urinary catheter, leukemia patients or HIV patients.
Signs and Symptoms of Septicemia
The symptoms of septicemia are severe as they can easily worsen the condition of an individual within short time period. It is important to look for signs of septicemia if an individual have had a surgery, injury or any kind of infection, prior to appearance of these symptoms, fever, chills, fatigue, increased heartbeat, increased breathing rate, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, reduction in urine volume, spotted skin, irritability and confusion.