Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Urinary Tract Infections and Confusion in the Elderly

Dealing With and Recognizing Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly
Helping Seniors stay healthy at home - Making sure they get the care they need.

A Urinary Tract Infection (or UTI) is a bacterial infection in any part of the Urinary Tract. The most common culprit in this case is the bacteria Escherichia coli. This form of infection is also very common in Elderly persons, particularly women. As the Elder dealing with UTI may appear confused or have increased trouble with balance, their family members often end up thinking that their confusion is the precursor to Alzheimer’s which may not be the case at all.
Common UTI symptoms include:

a. Painful urination.
b. A frequent urge to urinate.
c. Flank Pain.
d. Fever.
e. Confusion resulting from the condition.
f. Blood in the urine.

These are typical to symptomatic UTI which means the UTI is producing symptoms and must be treated. However you must understand that asymptomatic UTI (no visible symptoms) is also common in elders and if it is sensed then it is best to deal with it preemptively rather than let it aggravate. If you notice that an elderly person is starting to get confused there is a possibility that it might be the result of a urinary tract infection. This may not be the case but it is should be checked out. Sometimes confusion may be the only symptom of a UTI in the elderly.
Since women tend to suffer from Urinary Tract Infection more than men, they should be more cautious and take more precautions, especially those over the age of 65 years. They should:
a. Drink plenty of water,
b. Not resist the urge to urinate.
c. Take showers and not long baths.
d. Make sure that genital areas are clean.
e. Consume cranberry juice which can prevent Urinary Tract Infection in women and men alike.
f. Visit a physician if they have symptoms of UTI immediately, the faster you act the less you will have to deal with.

Some natural remedies

There are many natural remedies to help but not cure UTI infection that can be used by Elderly people.

a. Cranberry: Already discussed above, cranberry can help by making the urine more acidic and prevents the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. In order to make this work be sure to drink 100% cranberry juice, or just eat the cranberries themselves.
b. Vitamin C: Consume about 5,000 mg of Vitamin C every day, this may increase your body’s resistance to fight infections.
c. Stop consuming foods high in sugar: These can increase the chances of you getting a UTI. Increase your intake of fresh vegetables, and fruits high in water content such as watermelon.

If you do get a UTI that is symptomatic be sure to approach a qualified physician for medication. Once the bacteria stick to the bladder wall and start multiplying, cranberry products cannot help. The only reliable treatment for a current urinary tract infrection is an antibioitc. You can begin taking a cranberry product along with your antibiotic to help decrease your risk of future infections.

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