Healthy Living

What Medical Conditions Cause Sepsis?

What Medical Conditions Cause Sepsis?

Key Takeaways

  • If you have a weak immune system, an infection can spread to your entire body through the bloodstream
  • The old, the young, and pregnant women are most susceptible to sepsis
  • The chances of recovering from mild sepsis are high compared to sepsis shock

An infection affecting any part of the body can lead to sepsis. Infected areas like the urinary tract, pelvis, abdomen and lungs mostly lead to sepsis.

You can also get sepsis when admitted to the hospital. These can happen if:

• You have recently undergone surgery

• A urinary catheter was fitted on you

Sources of Infection

Infections that may cause sepsis include:



• Peritonitis (Infection of the abdomen’s inside lining)

• Urinary tract infections

• Cholecystitis (gallbladder infection)

• Cholangitis (bile ducts infection)

• Infections of the skin like cellulitis (can be due to an IV catheter inserted via the skin for medicines or fluids)

• Infections that occur after surgery

• Meningitis or encephalitis

• Flu

• Osteomyelitis (infection of the bones)

• Heart infection (endocarditis)

In some cases, the source or type of infection leading to meningitis cannot be identified.

Sources For Sepsis Symptoms

Normally there is a localized infection that breeds sepsis, when an infection is restricted to one area by the immune system.

White blood cells, which are manufactured by the body, travel to the infected area to kill the infection-causing organisms. A sequence of biological processes takes place, like the swelling of tissues which assist in fighting the infection and stop it from spreading.

An infection can spread quickly through your blood to other body parts if it is severe or if you have an impaired immune system. This results in the immune system going into overdrive, rendering the whole body useless.

This can lead to more complications, since widely-spread inflammation causes damage to tissues and affects the flow of blood. If the blood flow is affected, the blood pressure drops which in turn halts the supply of oxygen to tissues and organs.

Symptoms of Sepsis

A confirmed infection or a minimum of two of the following symptoms will indicate the presence of sepsis.

•    Very high or very low body temperatures

•    A fast heartbeat (more than 90 beats in a minute)

•    A high respiratory rate (more than 20 breaths in a minute)

Who Is The Most Susceptible to Sepsis?

Although everyone can develop sepsis through small infections, the following have higher chances of getting it:

• Individuals with weakened immune systems as a result of illnesses like leukemia or HIV

• The very old and the very young

• Pregnant women

• People with long-term illnesses like diabetes

• People who just underwent surgery or have wounds or injuries caused by accidents

• Those who had catheters or drips fitted  in their skin

• People genetically susceptible to infections

Admitted individuals in the hospitals because of other severe conditions are also likely to develop sepsis. 

Complications Resulting From Sepsis

Sepsis can be either mild or severe. The flow of blood to important organs in the body like the kidneys, brain, and the heart becomes affected as the sepsis becomes severe. Blood clots can also form in the organs, legs, fingers, arms and toes which in return lead to gangrene (failure of body organs and the death of body tissues).

The majority of patients with mild sepsis recover but the rate of mortality due to septic shock is almost 50%. You will likely get infections in the future if you suffered from severe sepsis.