Do Urinary Tract Infections Cause Dementia In The Elderly?

Recently I helped a family find a private care home for their mother who was in her mid 80’s, living in a large assisted living facility and suffering from dementia, depression and loneliness.   They were quite concerned because her depression and loneliness had come on suddenly and she was talking about not wanting to live any longer.

Her doctor had told the family that her dementia was progressing and made the suggestion that she move to a smaller care home where she would have more one-on-one attention.  This was an excellent suggestion and the family fully supported it.

We all agreed that it would be best to have me discuss the change in living arrangements with their mother and why it would be in her best interest.  During my visit with “Mom”, I noticed that she was overly emotional and confused.  Talking with the daughter, we realized that it was possible that her medications may not have been appropriately monitored or that she might need an adjustment to her medications.  I also pointed out that due to her emotional and mental state at the time of my visit, the family should have her checked out for a urinary tract infection.  It is believed that there is a connection to sudden symptoms of dementia or an increase in dementia symptoms and urinary tract infections.  They were surprised at my suggestion, but also relieved that there could be an explanation other than a sudden progression of her dementia.

What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common infections and women tend to get UTIs more frequently than men.   UTIs are infections of the urinary system, which consist of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.  They can be very serious and sometimes life threatening.

It can be difficult to determine if an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient has a UTI because they may not be able to fully verbalize how they feel.  They may not understand or be able to express pain, feeling the need to urinate frequently, etc. An infection can cause an imbalance in the substances and salts in the blood and reduce the production of a hormone that contributes to the formation of red blood cells.   UTIs in the elderly or people with Alzheimer’s/dementias cannot only profoundly affect their physical health, but also severely impact their behavior such as disorganized thinking, disorientation to time and place, apathy or increased agitation.

Dr. Rajesh Tamp, Director of Psychiatry for Masonicare, feels that the connection between dementias and UTIs is not a widely understood as it needs to be and that people with urinary tract infections are often misdiagnosed as just a sign of dementia.

A significant difference is that confusion or changes in behavior brought on by an infection will come about much more quickly than confusion resulting from dementia.

So, if an older person shows sudden signs of confusion or behavioral changes, it may not be connected to their dementia.  The key here is to remember that even if an elderly person has Alzheimer’s or dementia and is exhibiting sudden changes in physical, mental or emotional health, it would be advised to have them examined for a urinary tract infection.  With treatment, their symptoms should ease and perhaps reverse altogether.

For more information, visit:

~ Becky Feola, Assisted Living Advantage


7 responses to “Do Urinary Tract Infections Cause Dementia In The Elderly?

  1. My elderly mother was diagnosed with a UTI which was severe enough by the time we diagnosed it that the bacterial toxins had entered her bloodstream. After the antibiotic treatment was over she was better but she is still not back to her self and has symptoms of increased depression, nausea, and agitation. Could these be caused by the bacterial toxins and if so how long till it clears her blood?

  2. My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was
    totally right. This post actually made my day.
    You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information!

  3. Quality articles or reviews is the key to invite the visitors to
    pay a visit the website, that’s hat this site iss providing.

  4. Hello there! This blog poost could not be written much better!Looking through this
    article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this.
    I am goikng to forward this information to him. Pretty sure he’s goong to have a good read.
    Thank you foor sharing!

  5. Respect – Families should respect one another whether
    they have done well or not. com, the Ultimate Mobile Currency Marketplace, your one stop for all your mobile currency needs.
    The enemy has outlined his strategy for defeating the West and its

  6. When you sit for many hours on end, you can injure your back
    or even become obese. Give a warning, first and maybe even start a new activity.

    Romeo’s biggest flaw can be identified in two: (1) his over emotional
    attitude which pushes him to (2) act recklessly which brought him the conflicts
    and struggles of his character in the story.

  7. Seeds, such as sunflower and sesame, are arginine providers.

    A doctor should try as many different pills, creams
    and ointments as he or she can before finding the correct one.
    The statistics are much higher than we would expect them to be, but this
    should be a relief, rather than something to worry about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s