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Watch: What is sepsis?

What exactly is sepsis, and why is it so dangerous?

Sepsis happens as the body tries to fight off an infection. The body releases chemicals into the bloodstream to battle the invading germs — which can lead to a severe drop in blood pressure. That can damage vital organs and, in severe cases, cause them to shut down.

That’s known as septic shock, and it can be fatal.

Who is most vulnerable? And what are the signs of sepsis? KHN explains in this video.

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Topics: Healthier care