Community Blog

The Link Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Urinary Tract Infections

By Denise Roskamp

Elderly Care in Sudbury MA

One possible side effect of Alzheimer’s disease is urinary tract infections. UTIs can cause behavioral changes in people with this disease. Sadly, elders with Alzheimer’s disease often can’t tell you about the discomfort they have when urinating, making it very difficult for the elderly care professional to get a proper diagnoses. Since many people are unable to communicate this to others, it has resulted in many deaths.

Knowing the symptoms of a UTI and how it affects people with Alzheimer’s disease will help you determine if their sudden behavioral change is because of it.

Symptoms

A urinary tract infection is caused when germs make their way into the urethra and travel to both the bladder and kidneys. Women are four times more likely to contract the infection for a number of reasons, one being the fact that they have shorter urethras. Alzheimer’s patients are not the only ones who may get a UTI, but it has also been linked to diabetes, kidney problems, and a weakened immune system.

There are two types of behavior changes that can be expected as a result of a UTI:

  1. Becoming irritable. The senior may become easily irritated or angry for no reason. They may also become aggressive.
  2. Increasingly confused and dull. It may seem as though the elder is out of it or in a fog.

These changes in mood are not the only symptoms to look for. Other more noticeable symptoms include:

  • Pressure in the lower pelvis
  • Cloudy urine
  • Blood appears in the urine
  • Urinating becomes painful or begins to burn
  • Low-grade fever
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Chills, shaking, or night sweats
  • Frequently needing to urinate

Luckily, UTIs can be treated with some medication.

Urinary Tract Infections and Alzheimer’s Disease

It is not easy to tell an elder has a UTI based on a change in their mood because these behavioral shifts could also be symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. UTIs can also cause hallucinations, agitation, restlessness, or delusions in people with various forms of dementia. As alarming as these urinary tract infection symptoms are, a UTI is not necessarily a symptom of Alzheimer’s. However, it can speed up the progression of the disease at a rapid rate. There are some things that can be done your loved one from contracting the infection, such as:

  • Encourage the senior to drink plenty of water throughout the day, at least 6 to 8 glasses
  • Have them use the bathroom frequently, about every two to three hours
  • Make sure they are maintaining good hygiene, including daily showers

If you fear your loved one has a UTI, get immediate medical attention. The longer the elder waits to be treated, the more at risk they are of having it spread to the bloodstream, which could be fatal.

Source:
http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2016/07/alzheimer-care-urinary-tract-infection.html
http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-04-03/connection-between-utis-and-dementia/

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDERLY CARE IN SUDBURY, MA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS TODAY. CALL NOW (508) 545-0164.