Not All Memory Loss Is A Sign Of Dementia
People of all ages suffer memory loss at times. And lapses in memory may become more frequent as we age. But being unable to recall the name of your neighbor when you meet her on your way to work in the morning doesnt necessarily mean youre developing Alzheimers.
If you are experiencing memory issues, the first thing to do is see your doctor. A complete medical evaluation may uncover an underlying cause for the symptoms youre having a cause that may be treatable. Treatable causes include:
Anxiety/stressA study from the University of Iowa revealed that having high levels of cortisol the hormone released when a person is under stress can lead to memory lapses as we age. You can reduce the stress in your life through meditation, exercise, eating well and getting enough sleep.
A poor dietMalnutrition can create symptoms of mental confusion, uncertainty and slowness. Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet helps improve cognitive function, including memory and recall. B-12 which helps with normal nerve function is an important nutrient in maintaining good brain health.
InfectionsInfections can also cause temporary memory loss. One of the most common among seniors is urinary tract infection . Some other symptoms of UTI include a change in behavior, confusion, a decreased appetite and depression. Once treatment is started, many patients see improvement in these symptoms within a few days.
Utis Should Always Be On The Radar In Connection With Sundowning
All caregivers for the seriously ill should keep urinary tract infections on the radar as a possibility should a sudden change in mental condition occur. UTIs are the second most common reason people seek medical help in the United States. UTIs are easily diagnosed and generally a regime of antibiotics is prescribed once a diagnosis is confirmed.
If a patient is confined at home due to illness, dipsticks aka urinalysis kits can be easily purchased over the counter for an immediate result. This should not take the place of medical consultation however, if a patient is an invalid with a tendency toward urinary tract infections, the dipstick/ urinary strip is wise to have immediately available.
At home hospice patients can also benefit if a caregiver has access to a urinalysis kit. Caregivers have immediate access to the hospice nurse via phone however, it can be helpful for the hospice nurse or doctor to have a home analysis as the symptoms are investigated over the phone and prior to a home visit where a professional will also perform a urinalysis.
Clean The Bidet Regularly
Following the directions on the manual and cleaning your bidet regularly is crucial for preventing UITs while using a bidet.
The germs can get into the water tank, nozzles, and seat that will expose anyone who uses the bidet.
Dont put up with it if you find the nozzle is dirty before using a bidet. You should clean it in case any infections may happen.
Applying any diluted vinegar or mild detergent and clean it at least weekly. Cleaning the water filter is also an important step that you should not ignore.
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Testing Urine & How To Get A Sample
UTIs can be diagnosed with a simple urinalysis. Youll need only collect a urine sample to deliver to a laboratory. Sterile specimen cups for collecting samples should be available at any pharmacy. To get urine from someone with dementia, try these tips: Morning is best, because there will be more urine the first time its passed in the day. If your loved one is incontinent and wears diapers, urine can be collected from the pad with a urine collection pack, which includes a syringe and specimen container. Contact your doctor or a local laboratory to ask about getting one of these.
There are also home tests for UTIs, which are strips that you wet by holding in the urine stream for a few seconds. The strip will indicate bacteria that could be causing the infection. These tests are available at pharmacies without a prescription, but because theyre not considered reliable a urinalysis with a reputable laboratory is the better option.
Strengths And Limitations Of The Review
The strengths of this review are mainly due to its methodological quality that it utilised a broad search strategy, with no limits to age or date applied. This allowed for studies that were representative of an elderly population and without the explicit aim of reporting the relationship between confusion and UTI to be identified. Another strength of this review was the registration of a protocol with pre-specified objectives and methods. The use of a second reviewer independently assessing the quality of selected studies also increases the quality of the review. Limitations included limiting articles to English and being unable to assess the eligibility of the unobtainable full-texts. This review also did not attempt to include studies from the unpublished literature, introducing possible publication bias.
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Helping Caregivers Recognize Uti Symptoms
UTIs must be dealt with as quickly as possible. These infections are easily treated, but the consequences of letting them go can be serious or even fatal. If your loved one has difficulty communicating, and most people with dementia have difficulty communicating, it will be up to you to spot the signs because your loved one cant tell when theres a problem. While in the early stages of dementia, it may be possible for someone to indicate that somethings wrong , this becomes harder for people in middle-to-late stages. Again: Seeing the signs is up to the caregiver.
For most people, symptoms of UTIs include: Burning during urination Dark, bloody, or strange-smelling pee Fatigue Fever or chills Abdominal pain
For people with Alzheimers disease or related dementia the symptoms can be different and surprising. Immune system changes in older people cause them to react to infections differently. Instead of responding normally to pain, an elderly person is prone to become confused, agitated, or withdrawn. As these symptoms are similar to normal symptoms shown by people with dementia, UTIs can be difficult for caregivers to catch and diagnose in their loved ones. Behavior changes that could indicate a UTI include:
Delirium, or confusion that comes on suddenly Loses functional ability quickly
Why Utis Are Common In Persons With Dementia
A urinary tract infection is an infection in the bladder, kidneys, or urethra , usually caused by germs entering the body through the urethra. UTIs are much more common in women, who have shorter urethras than men, so illness-causing bacteria has less distance to travel. As dementia is more common in women than men, there is a disproportionate number of UTIs. Additionally, persons with dementia may have a harder time cleaning themselves and therefore more prone to getting a UTI. A higher percentage of persons with dementia use adult diapers and diapers which are not changed with enough frequency can lead to increased UTIs. Someone who loses control of the bladder or bowels can also be prone to UTIs. If it is dirty around the private area, an infection is more likely. While none of the medications for treating dementia are known to cause UTIs, they may cause one to retain urine and be more likely to get an infection.
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How Is A Uti With Delirium Treated
Since most UTIs are caused by bacteria, they are treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics will stop the bacteria from spreading or directly kill the bacteria. Stopping the bacteria stops the immune response to the bacteria, which should lead to improvement in delirium as well.
While the antibiotics do their work, a person may still experience delirium. If theyre in the hospital, the hospital staff will try their best to minimize disturbing the person in order to lessen their confusion. If the person is a harm to themselves or others because of their delirium, a low dose of a sedating medication, like haloperidol , may be given to help calm them down. But since these medications can worsen delirium, its a last-resort option.
Not all delirium is reversible, though, especially in people who have dementia. Since their brains are so sensitive, an infection may make their dementia worse even if their delirium and infection have improved.
How To Prevent Infections
Preventing infection for a person with any cognitive impairment may prove difficult. They may lack the ability to practice proper hygiene.
You can help by:
- making sure they stay vaccinated against the flu each year
- vaccinating yourself as well
- having everybody wash hands and sanitize upon entering the home
- washing and sanitizing your loved ones hands regularly
- offer them fluids frequently to encourage proper hydration
Even in the early stages of dementia, little tasks like hand washing might slip their mind. If you cannot always be around during the earlier stages, keeping reminder signs near sinks can help.
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Uti And Confusion In The Elderly: Can A Urinary Tract Infection Cause Dementia
When it comes to the elderly, its important to respect them, their privacy, and their autonomy, even when it comes to life and death situations involving their health. However, there are several instances that could be concerning and must be addressed quickly in order to avoid complications, and in many cases, the senior may not be aware of the underlying issue or may not notice the symptoms.
This can be the case with a urinary tract infection, or UTI. For most younger people, UTIs are a minor irritation. In the elderly, urinary tract infections are a potential killer. Even more concerning, the symptoms of a UTI in senior citizens may not be readily apparent to caretakers without proper education.
Addressing Urinary Retention Or Urinary Obstruction
Conditions such as prostate enlargement in older men and neurological damage due to diabetes, stroke or multiple sclerosis may lead to urinary retention. When this happens, a senior is unable to completely empty their bladder. Urine will accumulate and stagnate within the organ, eventually resulting in bacterial colonization and possibly UTI.
Urinary retention is diagnosed by measuring a seniors post-void residual, which is the amount of urine that remains in the bladder after urination. To obtain a post-void residual measurement, a catheter is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder after urinating to drain any leftover urine. Sometimes an ultrasound machine can be used to take this measurement. A residual of 100 mL or more indicates that the bladder is not emptying properly.
Another cause of incomplete voiding is urinary obstruction caused by a kidney stone stuck in a ureter . This blockage can contribute to recurrent UTIs and even kidney infections. Diagnostic imaging, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, can be used to diagnose a ureteral stone and treatment must usually be provided by a urologist.
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What Is Uti Delirium
When you hear the word delirious, you may think of someone who is excited or mad. In medical terms, though, delirium is a condition in which someone becomes confused over a short period of time . Its different from dementia, which is a slow decline in mental abilities over months and years. Although delirium is more common in older adults and people with dementia, it can happen in anyone.
Confusion isnt the only symptom of delirium. People experiencing these symptoms might also appear aggressive, withdrawn, or restless. They can also experience hallucinations, like seeing or hearing things that arent really there.
Delirium can be caused by many different things, including medications, anesthesia, and infections. A common cause of delirium especially in older adults is a urinary tract infection. In fact, delirium may be the only symptom that an older person with a UTI has. Because of this, it can be helpful to understand what to look for and what to do about it.
Should Catheters Be Used
Catheters historically have been thought of as a way to respond to problems with incontinence, but their use is not recommended unless absolutely medically necessary. The insertion of a catheter can introduce more bacteria into the urinary system and this increases the risk significantly for UTIs. A UTI that develops in someone using a catheter is called a Cather Associated Urinary Tract Infection , and the medical community has worked hard to reduce these preventable infections.
Catheters are appropriate for some conditions such as urinary retention, where someone is unable to completely empty their bladder, but they are not recommended without a specific medical condition that makes the necessary.
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How Are Utis Treated In Older Adults
Antibiotics are the first choice of treatment for UTIs. Mild UTIs often clear up in only a few days with the right antibiotic.
However, depending on the persons age and health plus the severity of the infection, treatment for a UTI may take several weeks and a longer course of antibiotics. In more severe cases, older adults may need to be hospitalized to receive IV antibiotics.
If your loved one has symptoms of a UTI, its important to make an appointment with their doctor right away. If symptoms are severe, call the doctor immediately to determine whether a trip to the emergency room is necessary.
Surprising Link Between Dementia And Utis
by ArtWithTammy / CCO
During the 30-plus years that Ive been writing Alternatives, Ive often shared bits of insight that were given to me by my parents. From the moment were born, we are constantly learning, and much of what we learn comes from our parents. What has surprised me personally, however, is just how much Ive continued to learn from them even during the end stages of their lives.
Before my father passed away a few years ago in his 90s, his body was failing to such a degree that we had to move him into a nursing home. His mind, though, was sharp as a tack until the very end. During my regular visits with him, I would always get an in-depth evaluation of the latest political events along with his predictions and thoughts about current sporting events.
It was also during those visits that I got a close firsthand look at many of the health issues confronting the elderly that cause them to need nursing assistance. Although the reasons were somewhat varied, two factors stood out.
For one, the large majority, like my dad, had physical limitations that kept them from living independently. Over time, a lack of any meaningful exercise had taken its toll on their bodies.
The second factor that stood out was the lack of mental stability. Im not talking about forgetting where you left the keys Im talking about more serious dementia.
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How Is It Diagnosed
If doctors suspect that a UTI is present, they will test a urine sample in the office or send it to a laboratory for a urinalysis.
A urine culture can confirm which bacteria are causing the infection. Knowing the specific type of bacteria allows the doctor to determine a suitable treatment plan.
A condition called asymptomatic bacteriuria is also common in older adults. ASB occurs when there are bacteria in the urine, but they do not cause any signs or symptoms of infection.
Although ASB is common in older adults, it does not typically require treatment, unless it causes other clinical symptoms.
The standard treatment for a UTI is antibiotics, which kill the bacteria causing the infection. Doctors will prescribe an antifungal medication instead if a fungus is causing the UTI.
It is essential that people take the antibiotic or antifungal medication precisely according to the prescription, even if they begin to feel better. Completing the entire prescription will help to destroy all of the infectious bacteria.
Let The Water Stream Aim At The Right Place
If your bidet doesnt have a feminine mode, for example, you have a handheld bidet or a standard bidet attachment. Then there is a workaround.
While using a handheld bidet, you should put the sprayer head in the bowl in front of you and let the spray wash your vulva front to back.
While using an attachment, you should wiggle around or stand up a bit to let the warm stream touch your vulva.
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Why Risks Are Higher With Dementia
- Hygiene problems: People with dementia are prone to use improper wiping techniques after using the bathroom, such as wiping from back to front instead of front to back. This can increase the spread of bacteria.
- Women:Approximately two-thirds of people with dementia are women. Women also have an increased risk of a UTI because of how their urinary systems are structured.
- Incontinence: As dementia progresses, the ability to control bladder and bowel urges declines. Low-quality adult incontinence pads can add to the problem because they dont absorb urine well, which then causes it to sit right against the skin and increases the risk of infection, as well as skin problems such as pressure sores. Soiled incontinence products should be changed as soon as possible.
- Reduced physical mobility:Physical ability declines as dementia progresses, and limited movement increases the risk of a UTI.
- Other conditions common in older adults: This includes a tendency to have a weaker immune system, a higher risk of diabetes, the potential for urinary retention, and prostate problems in men.
Tips For Family Members
What should a patient, or a patients family, do to make sure that infections are not overlooked in someone with suspected Alzheimers disease or another dementia? First and foremost, make sure to express your concern to the clinicians who are caring for someone with an altered mental state. Also, it is crucial to ensure that the patients history is known by his or her health care providers. This is especially important if the cognitive changes are recent, or developed rapidly, or were associated with a known medical illness or known exposure to an infectious disease. Identifying an infection can require special tests of blood or cerebrospinal fluid that are not routinely ordered in many treatment settings. Awareness of a disease history or of an exposure may lead to further assessment and earlier identification of an infection even when typical medical symptoms such as fever, cough, or pain with urination are subtle or absent.
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