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10 Common Symptoms of Sepsis

Sepsis is an infection that can threaten your life. It happens when chemicals that should fight off infection through your bloodstream instead trigger inflammation throughout your body.

Sepsis is fairly common, with more than 200 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Antibiotics and intravenous fluids are used to treat the symptoms.

Symptom 1: Being Unconscious

Becoming unconscious is a symptom of severe sepsis. It may be difficult to wake you up.

Before becoming unconscious, you may have slurred speech, not make sense, or be confused.

Symptom 2: Decreased Urine

Do you go to the bathroom less? When you do, do you produce less urine than usual? Urine output should be measured as a marker for sufficient renal and cardiac functions.

According to MD Calc, “The normal range for 24-hour urine volume is 800 to 2000 milliliters per day (with a normal fluid intake of about 2 liters per day). Oliguria is urine output < 500 mL in 24 h (0.5 mL/kg/h) in an adult.”


Symptom 3: Low Platelets

Do you have a low platelet count? If you are not bleeding, then a severe infection or sepsis is responsible for your low platelet count.

A low platelet count can lead to death.

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Symptom 4: Difficulty Breathing

Do you tend to breath faster than usual? Do you have difficulty breathing?

Sepsis is sometimes diagnosed when you take more than 20 breaths per minute. It becomes tougher to breath as the sepsis progresses.

Symptom 5: Chills

Do you get chills often? Sepsis causes your body temperature to drop. Typically, your temperature should be 98.6 F. With sepsis, your body temperature could go down to 96.8 F.

On the other hand, sepsis could make you have a fever of around 101 F.

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Symptom 6: Organ Failure

If blood clots form and travel through your body, they could damage multiple organs and lead to death.

Organ failure symptoms include decreased urine, fluid retention that causes your ankles and legs to swell, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Symptom 7: Fever

Those with a sepsis infection can have a fever, which would be 100.4 F or greater. Or, you could have the opposite, an abnormally low body temperature.

It may feel like you have the flu – a fever, chills, and similar symptoms.

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Symptom 8: Low Blood Pressure

If sepsis turns into septic shock, then your blood pressure drops significantly. You may feel like you are going to faint and begin sweating. A low body temperature can lead to poor circulation and blood not getting to organs and tissues.

Normal blood pressure is 120/80. A low body temperature is 90/60 or lower.

Symptom 9: Fast Heart Rate

You may have a sepsis infection if your heart rate is higher than 90 beats per minute. As a result, sepsis makes you more likely to face heart complications.

According to Merck Manual, “The heart attempts to compensate by working harder, increasing the heart rate and the amount of blood pumped. Eventually, the bacterial toxins and the increased work of pumping weaken the heart. As a result, the heart pumps less blood, and vital organs receive even less blood.”

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Symptom 10: Mental Confusion

Do you feel confused or disoriented? Do you have a hard time concentrating and performing regular tasks? Mental confusion is a symptom of sepsis and a sign that your organs are not functioning properly.

According to NCBI, “Altered mental status is present in up to 23% of patients with sepsis.”

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