Any infection can increase the progression of dementia and a UTI is no different. However for someone with dementia, a urinary tract infection can cause sudden behavior changes. UTIs can cause confusion even delirium. Persons living with dementia rarely let us know they have a UTI because they are unable to communicate what is causing the pain and discomfort.One of the leading causes of death for persons with dementia/Alzheimer's is due to infection that escalated to the point of death.
Knowing the signs can help your loved one get treated early before the infection leads to a serious health problem. Here are some changes that you should be aware of in someone with dementia:
- Agitated or angry.
- More confused than normal.
- Sleepy and withdrawn.
- Lack of appetite.
- Undressing in public.
- screaming out.
- Sudden worsening of incontinence.
- Negative behavior changes.
- Unable to do a task that could be easily done a day or two before.
- Urine that is cloudy, pink, and gives off a strong odor.
Ways a UTI can be determined:
- Urine sample
- Ultrasound exam
- CAT scan
How to prevent UTIs
- Frequent toileting (every 2 hours prompt peeing).
- Monitor fluid intake and encourage 6-8 glasses of water daily.
- Maintain good hygiene and include daily bathing.
- Be aware of dehydration which can increase urinary tract infections.
To help your loved one minimize the risk for a urinary tract infection watch for sudden behavior changes. Falls, confusion or an onset of incontinence may warn of a possible UTI. Contact your physician for guidance and a check-up.
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