UTIs Can Cause Confusion
Why do UTIs cause confusion in the elderly?
The immune system of an older adult reacts differently to infection compared to younger people.
Bladder infections place stress on the body. That stress can result in confusion. Abrupt changes in behavior may be evidenced in older adults with a UTI. I have certainly witnessed this first hand with our elderly clients. And for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, any kind of stress, physical or emotional, will often make dementia temporarily worse.
Why are seniors at risk for UTIs?
Men and women older than 65 are at greater risk for UTIs. This is because both men and women tend to have more problems emptying their bladder completely as they age. This can cause bacteria to develop in the urinary system.
In older men, this often happens because of a common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate gland. The enlarged prostate blocks the flow of urine and prevents the bladder from fully emptying.
As women age, the bladder muscles weaken and prevent the bladder from emptying completely. This will increase the risk of infection. Women also produce lower amounts of estrogen after menopause. This creates an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina, which can lead to infection.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164