Jan 16, 2013

Dementia and Memory Loss Caused by Infection

Undetected infections are common in dementia patients. These infections can lead to permanent memory loss, hard to deal with behavior, dullness (the not there effect), and even death.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room 

Dementia and Memory Loss Caused by Infection

One of my pet peeves is the urinary tract infection. UTIs are the bane of the Alzheimer's caregiver, and people living with Alzheimer's and dementia.

UTIs are sneaky when it comes to persons living with dementia. They sneak in and the patient can't even tell you they are sick.

When a person living with dementia gets an infection all kinds of bad things start happening. Sometimes they start talking in gibberish, or in-comprehensively.

Sometimes they get dull. It can appear to the caregiver that the end is near. The patient sometimes acts like they are no longer there.

Sometimes Alzheimer's patients get mean. Real mean when they have an undetected infection.

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And yes, sometimes the UTI or infection goes undetected even after a trip to the doctor, and the emergency room.

This can lead to death. And yes, sadly, I have the emails to prove it.

Typically, Alzheimer's caregivers are unaware of the frequency of undetected infections in Alzheimer's patients. UTIs and infections are common in Alzheimer's patients - especially women.

Let me make this as simple as I can.

If you are an Alzheimer's caregiver the odds are high, very high, that your loved will suffer from multiple UTIs or infections.

And here is why you should be alert.

There is clear scientific evidence that common infections, such as a cold, stomach bug or urine infection lead to cognitive decline. In the case of dementia patients this kind of memory loss may never be recovered.

We have a long list of articles in the Alzheimer's Reading Room that deal with issues like UTIs and the dire effects that infection can have on memory, mood, behavior and thinking.

I would suggest you search the knowledge base on the right hand side of the page and use terms like these: infection, memory loss, urinary tract infection, and UTI to get up to date on this problem.

I wrote this article because I just received another email that described the dire consequences of infection in a dementia patient that went undetected even after a trip to the doctor and the emergency room.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver.  Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room