Sepsis Risk Factors: People From Deprived Backgrounds Are Much More Likely To Die From The Disease

Sepsis Risk Factors: Poorer Background, Chronic Conditions, and Learning Disabilities Linked to Higher Risk Study Reveals 

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, multiple organ failure, and death.

A new study published in the journal eClinicalMedicine has shed light on the significant risk factors associated with sepsis, a life-threatening condition that arises from the body’s overwhelming response to an infection. The study under the approval of NHS, conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester, analyzed data on over 224,000 cases of sepsis in England between January 2019 and June 2022, revealing a clear correlation between certain underlying conditions, socioeconomic status, and the likelihood of developing sepsis and its potentially fatal consequences.

Key Findings:

  • Chronic Health Conditions: Individuals with chronic liver and kidney diseases, as well as those with learning disabilities, were found to face a substantially elevated risk of sepsis-related mortality. This heightened vulnerability is attributed to the compromised immune systems and overall health status of these individuals, rendering them less equipped to combat infections effectively.

  • Socioeconomic Deprivation: The study unveiled a striking association between socioeconomic deprivation and sepsis. Individuals residing in deprived areas exhibited an 80% increased risk of both sepsis development and sepsis-related mortality. This disparity is likely exacerbated by limited access to healthcare resources, poorer health literacy, and increased exposure to environmental and social stressors.

  • History of Antibiotic Exposure: The researchers identified a history of extensive antibiotic exposure as another significant risk factor for sepsis. Overuse of antibiotics can disrupt the microbiome, the delicate balance of microorganisms that reside in the body, leading to an increased susceptibility to infections.

Additional Risk Factors:

  • Age: Individuals over the age of 80 are particularly vulnerable to sepsis and its complications. Age-related decline in immune function and the prevalence of underlying medical conditions contribute to this heightened risk.

  • Ethnicity: White individuals were found to be at a higher risk of sepsis-related mortality compared to those from other ethnic groups. This disparity may be attributed to socioeconomic and healthcare access disparities.

  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Individuals with cancer, neurological diseases, diabetes, and immunosuppressive conditions were identified as having an increased risk of developing sepsis. These conditions compromise the immune system and make individuals more susceptible to infections.

  • Body Composition and Smoking: Underweight or obese individuals were found to be at a higher risk of sepsis, while smoking was also identified as a contributing factor. These factors are associated with an increased inflammatory state, which may exacerbate the body’s response to infections.

Implications for Sepsis Prevention and Management:

The study’s findings underscore the importance of targeted interventions to address sepsis risk factors, particularly among high-risk populations. This includes:

  • Early Diagnosis and Treatment: Prompt diagnosis and treatment of infections are crucial for preventing sepsis. Raising awareness of sepsis symptoms and encouraging early medical attention are essential.

  • Antibiotic Stewardship: Promoting judicious antibiotic use to preserve the microbiome and reduce the risk of infections is critical.

  • Targeted Prevention Strategies: Tailored interventions for individuals with specific risk factors, such as those with chronic conditions or from deprived backgrounds, are necessary.

  • Healthcare Access and Resources: Ensuring equitable access to healthcare resources and improving health literacy are essential for reducing sepsis disparities.

In conclusion, the study provides valuable insights into the risk factors associated with sepsis, highlighting the importance of targeted prevention and management strategies to address this critical public health issue. By understanding and addressing these risk factors, we can work towards reducing the burden of sepsis and improving patient outcomes.

Symptoms of Sepsis:

  • Fever, chills, and shivering
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Rash

What to Do if You Think You or Someone You Know Has Sepsis:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis is critical to improving the chances of survival.

The UK Sepsis Trust

The UK Sepsis Trust is a charity that provides information and support to people affected by sepsis. For more information, please visit their website:

Statistics: The UK Sepsis Trust has previously said that sepsis affects 245,000 people and claims 48,000 lives in the UK each year. High-profile cases, such as the death of actor Jason Watkins’ daughter Maude, have helped to raise awareness of the condition.

In 2014, a report claimed sepsis Killed over 37,000 people alone in the UK.

Call to Action:

The researchers behind the new study are calling for more research to be done on the prevention of sepsis. They also say that there is an urgent need to improve the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis in people with high-risk factors.

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Last Updated on November 24, 2023 by shalw

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