Sepsis awareness: Should there be different awareness goals for the young and the old?

Sepsis, the body’s self-destructive inflammatory response to severe infection, is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals, particularly among the elderly. It starts as mild sepsis, advances to severe sepsis, and all too frequently blossoms into septic shock. More than 1.5 million Americans get sepsis each year. More than 250,000 die of the illness. One in three patients who die in a hospital have sepsis. 62percent of survivors are re-hospitalized within 30 days. Over 90 percent of cases start in the community.

Understanding the critical role sepsis plays at the end of so many lives is important.

September is Sepsis Awareness Month. Organizations participating in Sepsis Awareness emphasize early diagnosis and treatment because of a large and important study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine during the spring of 2017.

It confirms what so many physicians have believed for so long. Time is of the essence when treating sepsis.

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