Jan 27, 2016

Do you know what happens when an elderly person has a urinary tract infection and they don't know it?

The silent, and dreaded, urinary tract infection can lead to permanent memory loss and even death in persons living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia.

Urinary Tract Infection, You Can Learn From My Experience

The silent, and dreaded, urinary tract infection. No sensations. No burning. No warning.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

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Here is one thing that is certain.

If your loved one living with dementia is a woman the odds are over 70 percent that you are going to experience the wrath of the dreaded urinary tract infection.

You read that right


Gut wrenching. Sadness. Confusion. Anger. Challenging behavior, Heartbreak. Or, worse.

That is what you should expect if you are not diligent about checking for a UTI each and every day.

Is your loved one mean? Have you had a thorough blood culture ordered by your doctor? Did you ask for or request it as a normal course of events?

No you answered.

Did you know that as we age our core body temperature drops? Did you also know that during your loved one's ten minute doctors appointment if their temperature is taken and it is 98.6 or lower they will be deemed just fine and dandy.

Well, when my mother's temperature was 98.6 she had a ragging urinary tract infection. Do you want to know why?

Because her core body temperature was 97.6.

The Connection Between UTI and Worsening Dementia

Here are some real life examples:
  • At least five readers of the Alzheimer's Reading Room had loved one's die as a result of an untreated urinary tract infection that escalated into a sepsis infection.
  • Carole Larkin had a client that woke up speaking gibberish. She advised the caregiver to take the patient directly to the emergency room. She instructed the doctors to check for a UTI. That was the problem. Gotta love Carole, she is diligent and always ready to take action. Read this - Dementia Patients in the Emergency Room - Think UTI First.
  • My own mother, Dotty, woke up completely disoriented. She wanted to know when we were going to go home. She was home. I immediately took her temperature and then called the doctor. Result she had a UTI and we caught it fast.
  • More than 100 readers of the ARR ended up in the emergency as a result of an infection that had gone untreated and had escalated.

Bob DeMarco  is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide.

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The dreaded urinary tract infection. The silent urinary tract infection. No sensations, no burning. No telling when you have Alzheimer's disease.

I wonder? How many urinary tract infections did my mother have been before we identified the problem. She couldn't tell me, I didn't know.

One thing I didn't know is that you can have a urinary tract infection without any symptoms -- no burning sensation, no discomfort.

You know what happens when an older person has a urinary tract infection and they don't know it? They start peeing all over themselves and all over the place.

Did you know this?

So anyway, my mother was peeing all over herself for years. We reached the point where we had 24 undies and 14 pajama sets.

You know what I thought? I thought it was Alzheimer's disease. And, in part it was.

But that was not the real problem. The real problem was because my mother was getting one urinary tract infection after another. And, we didn't know it.

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