Urinary Tract Infections in Seniors with Dementia
Has your mom, dad or maybe your spouse had frequent urinary tract infections? There may be underlying reasons for this. Do they have a diagnosis of dementia? People with dementia have frequent urinary tract infections (UTI) because UTIs are directly related/caused by the disease. It can be surprising because this often has nothing to do with hydration. Nothing to do with hygiene.
Persons with Dementia develop urinary tract infections because the parietal lobe in the brain is damaged. The parietal lobe processes sensory information it receives from the outside world, mainly relating to touch, taste and temperature. With dementia, the lobe becomes damaged and there is a resulting dysfunction in the senses. If a healthy person gets an infection, the brain sends out white blood cells, T cells, and may even raise the body temperature (fever) to fight it off. The person with dementia… their brain has lost the “wiring” and can no longer fight the infection.
Typically Infections Increase as Dementia Progresses
As memory diseases progress, urinary tract infections will come more and more frequently. It is thought that after three urinary tract infections in a two-year period the body may develop an antibiotic resistant UTI. A culture and sensitivity test called CNS tests are done every third to fourth UTI to make sure that the antibiotic the person with dementia is being prescribed will work.
UTIs are going to come to the person with dementia. Not because a caregiver is not hydrating or not giving proper hygiene. They are going to come because of brain damage caused by the memory disease.
You and/or the staff at a memory care or senior living home should be on the lookout for urinary tract infections. The person with dementia will be lethargic, difficult to be around or even become very aggressive and agitated. Urinary tract infections can lead to delirium and delirium can be quite deadly to someone with dementia. Urinary tract infections need to be treated very quickly particularly in those with dementia.
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