A blood infection is medically known as sepsis, is a potentially life-threatening illness. It is caused by the body’s overreaction to infection. Under normal circumstances, the immune system fights infections and restores health. Sometimes, however, the immune response is so strong that chemicals released into the blood to fight infection actually cause widespread inflammation. This inflammation, which can affect different organs and bodily functions, can produce severe illness. If the symptoms of blood infection appear, seek medical attention immediately.
Altered Mental Status
Altered mental status manifests early as a symptom of a blood infection. However, it may go unnoticed due to its subtlety. Blood infections can trigger many reactions in the body. Some of them cause cellular damage in the brain and also impact neurotransmission. This leads to a change in the patients’ mental agility. Patients experience increased confusion and compromised comprehensive ability. Furthermore, these signs aren’t taken very seriously until other symptoms also appear, especially in elderly patients. However, signs of delirium may alert others to the possibility of serious ill health.
Increased Heart Rate
Sepsis also leads to an increase in the heart rate, with patients’ clocking more than 90 beats per minute. This happens because an overactive immune system affects the body’s cardiac function, causing the heart to pump blood faster. As a consequence of this, the heart is not able to pump blood efficiently. The blood flow to the rest of the body is therefore hampered. Moreover, the increased heart rate puts a demand on the lungs for more oxygen-rich blood. This causes overexertion of the pulmonary system as well. Increased heart rate is therefore likely to be accompanied by breathlessness.
Change in Body Temperature
Most sepsis patients exhibit a change in body temperature. Some may develop a fever higher than 101 F. Others may experience a very low body temperature that measures below 96.8 F. This altered body temperature tends to produce chills and shivering, regardless of whether it’s high or low. Sometimes fever may have accompanied the original infection that led to the immune overreaction. In such cases, diagnosis is trickier. A physician may think it’s a continuation of the earlier infection, especially if other sepsis symptoms are slow to manifest.
Problems With Urination
Those with sepsis tend to develop problems with urination in more advanced stages of the condition. The amount of urine produced may decrease, as does the urge to urinate. One reason may be Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome, which impedes the production and expulsion of waste from the body. Sometimes only the kidney is affected by septic inflammation, disturbing normal urination. Problems with urination are clear indications that the blood infection is very potent and has spread to multiple organs. Consult a doctor immediately.
Blood poisoning can severely affect your mental state. To stop the infection from spreading into other body parts, the immune system releases chemicals to impair the blood flow. This deprives the brain of oxygen and other essential nutrients, thus causing impairment of focus.
In more severe cases, sepsis can cause individuals to feel dizzy while performing routine tasks. This occurs due to hypotension, or low blood pressure. Low blood pressure occurs because the patient’s cardiovascular health is compromised. Because heart does not pump blood efficiently, the blood volume in arteries decreases, causing a drop in blood pressure. The patient is likely to feel lightheaded and dizzy. In some cases, they may even fall unconscious. Consider this an emergency, indicating that the body is going into septic shock. Septic shock is associated with numerous complications including organ failure, gangrene, and tissue death. Dizziness combined with other symptoms of sepsis requires immediate medical help.
Patients with sepsis also complain of feeling extremely weak during their illness. Often this weakness continues long after their recovery as well. When the blood becomes septic with no treatment, neuromuscular weakness and muscle wasting occur in the body. Individuals feel a severe lack of strength and develop an aversion to movement. Even after recovery from sepsis, replenishment of muscle density and strength takes time. Patients may feel sickly, fatigued and low on energy for several months. However, with a healthy diet and proper recuperative measures, you may feel normal again within a few weeks.
One of the prominent and earliest symptoms of blood poisoning is skin spots. Reddish patches or spots become apparent on legs, arms, hands, feet, and other body parts. A typical rash often grows to become blotchy and doesn’t fade away on being pressed. Babies suffering from blood poisoning may cry excessively and remain irritable. They may refuse to eat and fail to wake up easily. Without treatment, it can result in death.
Agitation and aggression are common in adults and children with sepsis. Anxiety is a symptom of sepsis only when it occurs in conjunction with other symptoms. Agitation is a consideration for a symptom when it occurs suddenly and increases over several days.