Jun 8, 2015

Urinary tract infections are like a plague when it comes to persons living with Alzheimer's

Urinary tract infections are like a plague when it comes to persons living with Alzheimer's ... Consider this, urinary tract infections can be silent, and they can be deadly.

By Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

Urinary tract infections are like a plague with Alzheimer's


Temperature 98.4. Uh oh.  I seem to say those words every time my mother's temperature hits 98.4. The words just fly out of me. Instantly.

Some of you might be thinking 98.4, why? The reason is simple and straightforward. My mother's core body temperature is 97.6 when she wakes up, and  97.8, or so, during the day.

Do you know the core body temperature of your Alzheimer's patient? You should. Do you take their temperature every day or so? You should.


How many of you have ended up in the emergency room and found out your loved one has a urinary tract infection?

How many of you have observed
  • the patient as dull, listless, 
  • having more pronounced memory problems, 
  • and peeing all over the place
right before you finally discover they have a urinary tract infection?

Did you know? Several research studies have reported that core body temperature decreases with age and has greater variability in older populations.

In our case, when Dotty's temperature hits 98.4 she is sick. So far, all but one time it has been a urinary tract infection.

If you woke up and your temperature was elevate by .8, would you know you have a fever and are sick? My guess is that all of you would answer yes.


Fever is a symptom of illness and a signal from your body that you need to see the doctor for a diagnosis.

How many of you have ever heard an Alzheimer's patient in the moderate to severe stage of AD wake up and say, I think I have a fever? I think I have a urinary tract infection? Anyone?

My mother cannot tell me when she is sick. Through all the urinary tract infections, even six years ago when she was first diagnosed, she could not tell me she had a urinary tract infections.

Think about this. Urinary tract infections can be silent, and they can be deadly.

Please read this. One of the major causes of death with persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease is complications from urinary tract infections. Another by the way is falls. AD patients fall more when they have a urinary tract infection. UTIs increase the risk of death.

Here is a simple solution to this problem. Buy a cheap digital thermometer. Take the temperature of your loved one when they wake up. Take their temperature in the afternoon. Write down this readings.

Establish the core body temperature of the person when they are not sick. When the temperature spikes up, get to the doctor. That day if possible.

Or, sit back and scratch you head trying to figure out why your patient seems to be so dull, listless and detached. Then head to the emergency room when you can't take it anymore and finally realize things aren't going to get better, they are continuing to get worse.

Spend most of your day in the emergency room. Pay the cost of the visit to the emergency room. Then tell everyone -- I am really stressed out over this. Then kick yourself in the butt.

Or, get out in front. Establish the core body temperature and take action when the AD patient has a fever. Immediate action.


Also, get some of those pee sample cups from you doctor. Work it out so you can bring the sample over and have it tested when the temperature spikes up. Get out in front.

I had my mother's pee in hand when we went to the doctor and received the bad news -- probable urinary tract infection.

Yes, I said, uh oh, crap when they took my mother's temperature in the doctor's office. 98.5.

Dotty seems to be doing okay so far. No big downside this time. We caught the infection early.

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Bob DeMarco  is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 5,000 articles and 404,000 links. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room