Systemic means affecting the entire body, rather than a single organ or body part.
For example, systemic disorders, such as high blood pressure, or systemic diseases, such as the flu, affect the entire body.
An infection that is in the bloodstream is called a systemic infection.
An infection that affects only one body part or organ is called a localized infection.
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.