why do urinary tract infections cause confusion

As someone who works for the Alzheimers Association with support programs for caregivers, I decided to do a little research today on our, where Alzheimers caregivers are able to communicate with each other about their concerns and get information and support from peers. For those who have been providing care to someone with Alzheimers disease for some time, the result will come as no surprise, but for those who are newer to caregiving, you can turn up a result that may make you curious. If you go onto our message boards and search the Caregivers Forum with key words, you can pull about 30,000 posts containing the word Alzheimers, 14,000 that include the word brain and 10,000 that contain the word neurologist. No big surprises there, but here is the one that may surprise the newer caregivers: If you type in UTI, you will pull over 8,000 posts that are on 410 pages of our message boards. UTIs, or urinary tract infections, can cause changes in someone with Alzheimers disease that you might never expect.


The impact can be really profound. Some of the titles of the message board threads in which UTIs are mentioned tell the story well, including Sudden decline, Yelling out and undressing in public and Manic episodes WOW!
For me, falling and hallucinations always mean check for UTI Our compromised elders, especially females often develop, silent urinary tract infections. These UTIs are called silent because they usually have no symptoms of pain, no burning, no odor, no frequency, etc. BUT there will often be profound changes in behaviors. UTI, UTI, UTI, UTI, UTI! When my mother has a UTI she sleeps all day. We can t get her out of bed, she will also stop eating. Have the doctor check her for a UTI. UTI and dehydration!!!!! I ve never been so happy to get that kind of diagnosis. They have her on IV antibiotics. The interesting thing was that her urine was clear and they were pretty sure she didn t have a UTI. Luckily the testing came back positive.


With my aunt, I could always diagnose the UTI because she started acting crazier than her current norm. (When she picked up a glass of water and threw the water over her shoulder, I called it right away UTI. ) When UTIs are wreaking havoc with the family members of our Alzheimers caregivers, we sometimes see threads in which the caregivers are in a state of panic about the symptoms. And for good reason the symptoms are powerful and can actually mimic the end of life for some people. These caregivers are used to a slow disease progression, and the UTI with no overt symptoms can make everyone involved act in ways that reflect their feeling that this situation is a life-threatening emergency. The good news is that, while the UTI does need to be treated right away, this is for the comfort of the patient and the family. UTIs do not cause permanent damage, and they respond quickly and successfully to treatment. And best of all, once the infection clears, the person returns back to their condition prior to the UTI. Thats when the message board posts show caregivers breathing a deep sigh of relief and thanking their peers in the online community for their caring support and for tipping them off to one of the oddest but most treatable components of Alzheimers disease.


Todays guest post comes from Ellen Carbonell, LCSW, Associate Director, Family Programs for the Alzheimers Associations national office. Ellen is responsible for developing and producing dementia-related family programs for chapter implementation nationwide, and oversees the caregiver and early-stage support group programs. Trained as a clinical social worker, she has over 30 years of experience working with individual and family programs in mental health, vocational, educational, clergy and voluntary health care settings. Can a urinary infection affect the mental state of a person? If this person is elderly, and already suffers from loss of memory, can an infection exaggerate deterioration of mental state?


Any condition that has the potential to cause a significant fever can cause confusion. The younger or older one is, the more likely problems are to arise. A is a classical example of a condition that can cause an elderly person to become confused, undernourished, dehydrated and. Any difficulties with memory, such as early may be made worse. After many years of practice, I still find it amazing how antibiotic treatment, adequate food and fluids and other supportive measures can bring someone 'back to life' within a few short days. Sometimes the urinary infection can be chronic and 'low-grade' in nature, and one must remember that an elderly person doesn't always retain the ability to put up their temperature. The history and examination may not be particularly helpful in this situation, and examination, to exclude infection in an elderly confused patient is to be recommended in addition to other investigations one might wish to perform to reach a diagnosis. Last updated 04. 01. 2012

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