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 .
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.
If the cause of delirium is properly identified and treated, delirium often lasts less than one month from the onset of symptoms to the time of recovery. However, an episode of delirium may last anywhere from a few hours to many weeks, depending on the cause and necessary treatment.
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.
When left untreated , UTIs can cause serious problems in the elderly , including permanent kidney damage and sepsis, a generalized and potentially life-threatening infection.
Instead, they may have slurred speech , dizziness, or confusion . Get medical care right away if you have any of these symptoms.
UTI , Dementia and Delirium in the Elderly Delirium is often a temporary change in brain function caused by a potentially reversible condition, such as an infection, hypoglycemia, medication side effects, etc.
The main cause of UTIs , at any age, is usually bacteria. Escherichia coli is the primary cause , but other organisms can also cause a UTI . In older adults who use catheters or live in a nursing home or other full-time care facility, bacteria such as Enterococci and Staphylococci are more common causes.
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 .
Symptoms of a UTI may include: a more urgent need to urinate. increased urination. burning, pain, or discomfort when urinating. feeling pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvis. cloudy, thick, or odorous urine. the bladder not feeling empty after urination. fever. pain in the lower abdomen, flank, or back.
Untreated urinary tract infections may spread to the kidney, causing more pain and illness. It can also cause sepsis . The term urosepsis is usually used to describe sepsis caused by a UTI . Sometimes incorrectly called blood poisoning, sepsis is the body’s often deadly response to infection or injury.
Recovering from Delirium Delirium can last from a day to sometimes months. If the person’s medical problems get better, they may be able to go home before their delirium goes away. Some people’s delirium symptoms get much better when they go home.
In the long term, delirium can cause permanent damage to cognitive ability and is associated with an increase in long-term care admissions. It also leads to complications, such as pneumonia or blood clots that weaken patients and increase the chances that they will die within a year.
Alcohol or drug intoxication or withdrawal. A medical condition, such as a stroke, heart attack, worsening lung or liver disease, or an injury from a fall. Metabolic imbalances, such as low sodium or low calcium. Severe, chronic or terminal illness .