Developing a Urinary Tract Infection and Dementia like symptoms may occur. Caregivers must be aware of the signs of a urinary tract infection.
Any Infection, Including Urinary Tract Infections, Can Increase the Progression of Dementia
It has been found that infections in individuals that have dementia may experience severe confusion. Urinary tract infections are a common type of infection among the aging population. Women have a tendency to develop these infections more often than men. Women who have experienced three urinary tract infections are more likely to continue to have them. And four out of five of those women will develop another urinary tract infection within 18 months of the last infection.
Caring for someone who has dementia poses problems, as the person you’re caring for may not be able to verbalize what they are feeling. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms other urinary infection or even constipation as these can result in significant behavioral changes.
Some individuals are more prone to develop a urinary tract infection than others:
- Women have a rate of increasing urinary tract infections with age
- People with diabetes have a higher risk because of changes in the immune system
- Men with enlarged prostate glands that interfere with the flow of urine or kidney stones raise the risk of developing urinary tract infection.
- Individuals that have catheters or a tube in the bladder are more open to developing an infection.
Research scientists have found a link between common infections such as the common cold; a stomach virus or a urinary tract infection increases the inflammation response in the brain, which results in the increased rate of cognitive decline. The study went on to show that individuals that had an infection declined at twice the rate of individuals without any type of infection. So it is important for caregivers to be able to identify any infection and seek medical assistance as soon as possible. For the family caregiver this means they must be very vigilant when it comes to caring for someone with dementia.
One common theme with most family caregivers of someone with dementia, is the fear that there will be nothing wrong with their family member, and will be viewed as an alarmist. Nevertheless it is important that if you think your family member is not feeling well or just does not look right, take their temperature. If they are running a slight temperature it’s important to question whether or not to give medication to bring the temperature down, as you may mask a potential infection. If there is a sudden change in their behavior, this could be an indication of a urinary tract infection.
Do not hesitate to give the Dr. call or take your family member into the office for an evaluation. It’s more important that you take action and prevent progression of dementia and memory loss than to look back and wished you had.