Mark Ackerman, executive director of Royal Palm Retirement Centre, explains the signs of UTI can mimic dementia symptoms.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (May 24, 2012) – Royal Palm Retirement Centre (http://www.royalpalmseniorliving.com), an independent and assisted living facility in Port Charlotte, is educating the community about the importance of urinary tract infection testing and treatment.
“Urinary tract infections are fairly common, especially in seniors,” says Mark Ackerman, executive director of Royal Palm. “But what most people don’t understand is that some of the symptoms of a UTI can mimic the early signs of dementia.”
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that occurs anywhere along the urinary tract. The most common symptoms include a fever, painful urination, strong need to urinate and foul-smelling or cloudy urine. However, in older adults some of these symptoms do not present, like fever, or may be something experienced often, like strong need to urinate, due to age and bladder weakness. As the infection progresses, it can bring about additional symptoms such as confusion, agitation, poor motor skills and other behavioral changes. Because these symptoms are also warning signs of dementia, a UTI can often be overlooked or misdiagnosed.
“We’ve had instances in which families brought their loved ones in believing the seniors were experiencing the early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s,”
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are several conditions that make the elderly more susceptible to urinary tract infections. These include diabetes, catheters, incontinence, immobility and kidney stones. Untreated, a UTI can lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening bloodstream infection; which is why it is so important to monitor and treat any infections.
Ackerman offers these suggestions for reducing the risk of developing a UTI:
• Drink plenty of fluids
• Change undergarments and/or adult diapers frequently
• Cleanse genital area from front to back
• Avoid or reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
• Add cranberry juice or pills to your diet, unless you have kidney stones or are on blood-thinning medication
Ackerman adds that anyone suspecting a urinary tract infection should see a physician as soon as possible.
About Royal Palm Retirement Centre
Royal Palm Retirement Centre (www.royalpalmseniorliving.com)
About Senior Management Advisors, Inc.
Senior Management Advisors (SMA) (www.seniormanagementadvisors.com)