December 5, 2023 9:14 PM

Why Do Killer Bacteria Affect Some People More Severely Than Others

The varying impact of killer bacteria on individuals is a complex interplay of multiple factors. It’s like a puzzle with pieces from our genetics, environment, and the specific bacteria involved. Some people possess genetic defences that act as strong shields against certain bacteria, providing a natural advantage. Conversely, others carry genetic traits that make them more susceptible. According to Dr. Pankaj Verma, who is a Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine, at Narayana Superspeciality Hospital Gurugram, “Environmental factors, such as hygiene, diet, and exposure to pathogens, also influence the outcome. Those with healthier lifestyles tend to have a better-prepared immune system. it’s not just one-size-fits-all when it comes to our response to killer bacteria. Understanding such factors helps tailor treatments and preventive measures.”

What Is Sepsis And Why It Affects Everyone Differently?

In this regard, Dr Monalisa Sahu, who is a Consultant of Infectious Diseases, at Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad said, “A dysregulated host response to an infection resulting in organ dysfunction is known as sepsis and determined by host factors, pathogen factors as well as environmental factors and an intricate and complicated interaction between these factors.”

“There is a large degree of heterogeneity in the response of different individuals to infection by the same multi-drug resistant bacteria, both in terms of distribution of organ involvement and dysfunction as well as the severity of the disease. There are several factors which determine the different outcomes of sepsis in different patients. Gender, ethnicity, age factor, socio-economic factors influence to some extent the response of a person. Presence of other co-morbid conditions like chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic lung disease, uncontrolled diabetes, use of long term steroids, organ transplant recipients, other autoimmune diseases like Systemic Lupus Erythematosus(SLE), patients with malignancy, on chemotherapeutic agents, radiotherapy, and other immunotherapeutic agents, extremes of ages (elderly individuals and pediatric population), and pregnant females are at a higher risk of adverse outcomes in response to attack by a multidrug resistant bacteria,” she added.

In addition to her, Dr Kirti Sabnis, who is an Infectious Disease Specialist, at Fortis Hospital Mulund & Kalyan added, “Patients with diabetes are also more prone to higher infections since they have high sugar levels. As a result of the sugar levels, bacteria, including the skin and urine bacteria, can cause infections as their white blood cells (WBC) fail to cure the disease and fight off these bacteria. Some people also have immunity defects, which can be present from birth. Other defects may result from drug consumption for patients with various conditions like Arthritis, who require transplant, or have chronic kidney problems. Patients who have chronic liver problems tend to have low immunity. Due to these factors, patients with liver or kidney conditions require multiple hospital visits, drugs, and antibodies that reduce their immunity.”

Effect Of Infection Caused By Multidrug Resistant Bacteria:

Dr Monalisa Sahu said, “Type of inflammatory response and cytokines released in response to the infection caused by a multidrug resistant bacteria in each individual would also be different. This host-pathogen response is defined by different phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of the individuals and accordingly several studies have characterised the population in sepsis phenotypes.  The genetic susceptibility of the individual also determines the outcome of a person. Organ failure clusters are also defined in patients with sepsis like those in the AKI(Acute kidney Injury) cluster are defined as those having more propensity for endothelial dysfunction, thrombocytopenia, anemia.”

“Those individuals who have a more propensity for liver failure following sepsis have liver injury, thrombocytopenia( decrease in platelet counts) and coagulopathy, and alterations in the blood clotting pathways. Sustained fever, increase of blood levels of certain biomarkers like ferritin, called hyperferritinemia, decrease in all cell counts of blood, known as pancytopenia, liver dysfunction may occur with different predilection in different groups of patients which determines how they would respond to the attack by the same multi-drug resistant bacteria,” she added.

[Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.]


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