Sepsis: Causes, Risk Factors and Complications

Sepsis is a possibly deadly illness that happens whenever the body’s immune system attacks its very own organs in reaction to an infection. When the body’s infection-fighting systems step in, organs perform badly and improperly. Septic shock can occur from sepsis. It is a sudden drop in blood pressure that can cause severe organ damage or death. Treatment with antibiotics and intravenous fluids increases the chances of survival.


Bacterial, viral, or fungal, can cause sepsis, infections that are more commonly connected with sepsis include:

  • Lungs, such as pneumonia
  • Kidney, bladder
  • Other parts of the urinary system
  • Digestive system
  • Bloodstream (bacteremia)
  • Catheter sites
  • Burns or wounds  

Risk Factors

Many factors cause sepsis including

  • Getting older
  • Infancy
  • Diabetes and a weak immune system
  • Kidney or liver illness in a chronic condition
  • Intravenous catheters and breathing tubes are examples of invasive devices
  • Previous use of antibiotics or corticosteroids


Blood flow to important organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys is reduced as sepsis progresses. In addition, sepsis can result in abnormal blood coagulation, leading to small clots or burst blood vessels, causing tissue damage or destruction. Although most people recover from moderate sepsis, septic shock has a 40% fatality rate. Furthermore, a serious sepsis case raises the risk of infection in the future.

When should you see a doctor?

Sepsis is most commonly found in hospitalized patients or has just been hospitalized in intensive care units (ICUs), infections are more likely to develop, leading to sepsis.

Any infection can cause sepsis. Consult your doctor if you have an infection or a wound not healing. Confusion or rapid breathing are signs or symptoms that require urgent medical care.