Urinary tract infections ("UTI") can become a genuine health problem for seniors. UTI is easily treated, but seniors are often confused about the symptoms, especially if they are prone to dementia. If not treated properly, UTI can create more serious health issues. Seniors suffer from UTI more than other groups, and it is important for them and their caretakers to understand why. What is Urinary Tract Infection? A UTI is an infection involving some aspect of the urinary system, such as the urethra, kidneys, and bladder. When we urinate, excess water and waste leaves our body. The problem begins when bacteria finds its way into the urinary system. When this happens, the urinary tract can become inflamed and infected.UTIs are quite common. One in five women can expect to contract it in her lifetime. It can happen to men as well, but it is much rarer. There is a logical physical reason for that. The reason women suffer from more UTI infections is that the urethra (which carries the urine from the body) is much closer to the anus in females than in males. The anus can be infected with E. coli bacteria, which can invade the urinary system.
UTI Symptoms Among Seniors:
The general symptoms for UTI are the same for everyone:
Seniors may or may not experience the above symptoms for UTI. This confusion can make it difficult to diagnose the symptoms properly. The reason for this is that seniors usually have a weak immune system that doesn't respond as expected to bacterial infections.
What seniors experience when they suffer from UTI is
confusion, dizziness, and irritable behavior. They may have difficulty
communicating these symptoms to their family or caregiver, or they may be too
embarrassed or confused to do so. If left untreated, the infection can spread to
the kidneys and seniors may begin to suffer from fever, general nausea, or back
Caretakers need to pay careful attention to changes in behavior of seniors.
Why Do Seniors Need to Worry About UTI?
In general, seniors are more susceptible to UTI because of their already weakened immune system. Our immune system changes as we age. It's a normal part of getting older, and we need to become alert to what is happening within our bodies. In addition, seniors can suffer from a number of disorders leaving them vulnerable to UTI's.
Helping Seniors Prevent UTI
Fortunately, there are steps seniors and their caretakers
can take to help prevent or alleviate urinary tract infections:
1. Drink a of lot of water. This will help flush out harmful bacteria.
2. Cranberry juice is an especially effective drink to fight off UTI.
3. Cotton underpants that breath can help reduce the presence of bacteria.
4. Caretakers and family should ensure that seniors practice proper genital hygiene. If the senior is unable to do so, a homecare professional can visit and promote good hygiene habits.
5. Caffeine and alcohol will irritate the bladder. These drinks should be avoided as much as possible.
UTI is a fairly common condition that can be helped with proper treatment. Because seniors may have difficulty in expressing their discomfort, caretakers need to be vigilant about recognizing the symptoms of UTI in seniors.
Give us a call today at (858)774-8528.