Senior Care in Statesville, NC
Due to the weak immune system and vulnerable bodies of elders, this age group is more prone to contracting a blood infection known as Sepsis. This infection is caused when the body’s immune response goes into overdrive trying to cure an infection. The outcome of Sepsis can cause damage to the organs, depriving them of the nutrients and oxygen needed to function properly. Results of this blood infection could be life-threatening, especially if the blood pressure dramatically drops, causing septic shock. Small blood clots may also form, causing vital organs to shut down. According to WebMD, this is the leading cause of death in hospital ICU’s. Fortunately, through extensive research that has been conducted over the past few years, the death rate of people with sepsis was 50 percent decades ago and is now at 25 percent. If you are providing senior care for someone with this condition, being well informed over the impacts of Sepsis on their long-term health and finding out how to treat this infection will help you and your loved one manage their health condition.
Sepsis can be formed anywhere bacteria can enter the body, such as through cuts, scrapes, or serious medical conditions like pneumonia. The blood stream is not the only thing affected by this infection; it may also infect the bones, which is called osteomyelitis. Since different parts of the body can be impacted, each person with Sepsis may have different symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Rapid pulse and breathing
- Decreased urination
- Fever, chills, and/or a very low body temperature
- Vomiting or nausea
The sooner the elder who is receiving in-home care gets diagnosed, the better their survival rate is. If you suspect your loved one has sepsis, their doctor can run tests to look for the following health concerns:
- Imaging technology like an X-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound will be able to find the source of the infection
- Low blood pressure
- Problems with the liver or kidney functions
- Too much acid in the blood (also known as acidosis)
- A low platelet count
- A high or low white blood cell count
- Bacteria in the blood or other bodily fluids
These areas are critical to properly diagnosing your loved one’s infection in order to provide treatment options to help rid their body of this condition.
Depending on the severity of the sepsis, treatment options provided by the doctor can range from medication that pinpoints the source of the infection to kidney dialysis. Surgery may also be necessary to help clean or drain the infection. Treatment for this blood infection often begins with:
- Broad-spectrum antibiotics that will kill many forms of bacteria
- IV fluids that will help maintain blood pressure
- Oxygen to maintain normal blood oxygen
Sepsis is a condition that can cause life-threatening health problems to people of all ages, but is especially found in older adults. If you suspect this infection in the senior you are providing elder care for, use this information and speak with their doctor to get your loved one the care they need.