When left untreated , UTIs can cause serious problems in the elderly , including permanent kidney damage and sepsis, a generalized and potentially life-threatening infection.
UTIs can cause sudden confusion (also known as delirium) in older people and people with dementia. If the person has a sudden and unexplained change in their behaviour, such as increased confusion, agitation, or withdrawal, this may be because of a UTI .
Because our immune system changes as we get older, it responds differently to the infection. Instead of pain symptoms, seniors with a UTI may show increased signs of confusion , agitation or withdrawal.
UTIs can cause a significant and distressing change in someone’s behaviour that is commonly referred to as ‘ acute confusional state ‘ or ‘ delirium ‘. Delirium is a change in someone’s mental state and usually develops over one or two days .
If the infection moves upstream to the kidneys, additional symptoms are likely, such as fatigue , weakness or feeling faint , and difficulty walking or thinking clearly. Other symptoms could include a fever of 101 F or greater, shaking and chills, upper back and side pain, and nausea or vomiting.
Not everyone with a UTI has symptoms, but most people have at least one. Symptons may include a frequent urge to urinate and a painful, burning feeling in the area of the bladder or urethra during urination. It is not unusual to feel bad all over— tired , shaky, washed out—and to feel pain even when not urinating.
People shouldn’t die from a UTI , but if sepsis begins to take over and develops to severe sepsis and then to septic shock, this is exactly what can happen. More than half the cases of urosepsis among older adults are caused by a UTI .
Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole , nitrofurantoin , and fosfomycin are the most preferred antibiotics for treating a UTI.
Most UTIs aren’t serious. But if left untreated, the infection can spread up to the kidneys and bloodstream and become life-threatening. Kidney infections can lead to kidney damage and kidney scarring . Symptoms of a UTI usually improve within two to three days after starting antibiotic therapy.
Urinary tract infection is considered a common cause of delirium in the elderly. In long-term care facilities, altered mental status is the most common indication for ordering a urine culture,1 and a urinary tract infection is the most common reason for prescribing antibiotics.
Sepsis Symptoms Fever and chills. Very low body temperature. Peeing less than usual. Fast heartbeat. Nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea. Fatigue or weakness. Blotchy or discolored skin.
Antibiotics are an effective treatment for UTIs . However, the body can often resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs on its own without the help of antibiotics . By some estimates, 25–42 percent of uncomplicated UTI infections clear on their own. In these cases, people can try a range of home remedies to speed up recovery .
These include chlamydia , gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Simple lab tests are available to distinguish a UTI from an STD . Interstitial cystitis also has many of the same symptoms as a urinary tract infection. It can happen in both men and women and can start after a UTI.
Infections can also cause temporary memory loss . One of the most common among seniors is urinary tract infection ( UTI ). 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.
By drinking more water, the urge to urinate will become more frequent. Urinating more often prevents infecting bacteria that cause UTIs from building up. Get moving: Elderly people who are sedentary have a higher risk for UTIs . Walking more frequently, even in small increments, helps in preventing UTIs in the elderly .