Urinary Tract Infection In The Elderly
A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria accumulate and multiply in the urethra, bladder, or kidneys. If left untreated, the condition can lead to an acute or chronic kidney infection and eventually damage the kidneys. Poor hygiene, medications (frequent use of antibiotics), stress, and dehydration is known to contribute to this condition. The damage can be permanent, can lead to sepsis (a life-threatening infection), and result in kidney failure.
The Elderly and Urinary Tract Infections
Anyone can experience a UTI, but the population most likely affected is the elderly. The older individual is more susceptible since their immune system weakens with age and other age-related conditions. This population does not always effectively empty their bladder upon urination and this leaves behind residual volume which leads to the gradual growth of bacteria. In addition, elderly people experience a weakening of the bladder muscles causing incontinence (uncontrolled loss of urine) and increased retention of urine in the bladder.
Some of the common symptoms which occur in all age groups including Urinary Tract Infection In The Elderly are:
cloudy or dark urine
a frequent and/or urgent need to urinate
night sweats, shaking, and/or chills
pain and discomfort (lower abdomen and back)
nausea and vomiting
Although these symptoms are common, many elderly people who have serious bladder infections and urinary infections in the elderly do not always present with fever, chills, or sweats since their immune system does not respond in the same manner. A UTI in the elderly is often mistaken for another condition known as dementia. The early stages of dementia such as confusion, changes in behavior, or dizziness are also seen with UTIs.
Consult your healthcare provider or come into FirstCare Medical Center immediately.
Drink plenty of fluids
Practice good hygiene
Avoid drinks with caffeine and avoid spicy foods
Complete all medications prescribed by your provider
If you think you have a UTI please consult your provider to diagnose and treat this problem. Prompt treatment of this condition can prevent more serious complications from occurring.