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September is National Sepsis Awareness Month

Sepsis is the result of a massive immune response to bacterial infection that gets into the blood. It often leads to organ failure or injury.

Sepsis is a medical emergency that becomes fatal or life-changing for many of the individuals who develop this “blood poisoning.” Estimates for the number of people hospitalized in the United States for sepsis each year top 1 million and sepsis is in the top 10 of diseases leading to mortality in America. Sepsis is a specific condition in itself, but it is commonly caused by bacterial infection in the blood, which is called septicemia. This explains why the terms sepsis and septicemia are often used together. The current definition of sepsis is based on relatively recent developments in the scientific understanding of the condition. The disease process is also not fully understood, with treatment still proving highly challenging. Sepsis is defined as “life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection.” In lay terms, sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body's response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.