URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS: WHAT IS A UTI?
A Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is an infection within any area of the urinary system and can affect the kidneys, bladder, ureters (connection from the kidneys to the bladder), and urethra (connection from the bladder to outside the body, allowing urine to exit). Women are more likely to develop a UTI over men. An infection limited to the bladder can be annoying and painful, but more serious health problems can occur if the kidneys are affected. UTIs are often treated with antibiotics.
SIGNS YOUR ELDERLY LOVED ONE MIGHT HAVE A UTI
UTIs in our elderly loved ones can affect them in different ways as opposed to those who are younger. In a person with
dementia, for example, a UTI can cause confusion, or delirium, and the person may not be able to explain or communicate how they feel. Any infection in those with dementia especially, can actually contribute to the progression of the disease, therefore, it’s important that family, friends, and caregivers understand the symptoms of UTIs and alert your loved ones physician should any symptoms be present.
HOW A UTI AFFECTS OUR ELDERLY LOVED ONES
UTIs more commonly cause delirium in our elderly loved ones, this is most common with the absence of a fever. Other symptoms that could indicate a UTI include; urinary incontinence, drowsiness, frequent falling, poor appetite, hypotension, and even
tachycardia. It’s imperative to have your elderly loved one evaluated by their physician if you have concerns for a UTI.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR UTI’S
UTIs at any age are most often, depending on the severity, treated with antibiotics to rid the bacteria. Additional considerations are taken for our elderly in terms of which antibiotic is used, dose, and method. Maintaining a consistent fluid intake is very beneficial in keeping the urinary tract pushing urine through the body. Higher fluid intake is effective at flushing the bacteria out of the body which results with improvement of symptoms in most cases. Consult your elderly loved one’s physician to determine what treatment is best.
By Chusa Sylvestre – Copy Editor, Jessica Warren