Take Charge of Your Health - UTIs: Who Knew?
Peeing is pretty important.
Your kidneys filter excess water and waste out of your blood
and that urine needs somewhere to go: your bladder.
-Kevin Priolo and Shira Polan, Business Insider
The correct diagnosis of a urinary track infection (UTI) can be more complicated than we think. The common symptoms associated with a UTI in younger adults are frequent urination, a burning pain when urinating, chills and fever. However, in older adults the symptoms may become more behavioral, such as confusion or agitation. Further, UTIs are one of the most common complications of a stroke.
A UTI occurs when bacteria gets into the urethra and spreads to the bladder or kidneys. Typically, this causes lethargy, back pain, nausea and vomiting.
The risk of UTIs increases as we age partly because of motor skill degradation or due to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, incontinence and catheter use. In females, the deficiency of estrogen may trigger infection, whereas in males, enlarged prostates, kidney or bladder stones can increase infection risk.
In elders, often a UTI is blamed for a change in mental status, when in fact, there is a neurological issue at work. Patients who experience stroke often experience bladder problems as a side effect of the stroke. This may be due to urinary retention, immobility, or the use of catheters. On the other hand, physicians can also be quick to diagnose symptoms as a neurological condition, when the patient may have a UTI. The good news is that neurological changes stemming from UTIs generally reverse themselves once the infection is treated and cleared up.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the physical, neurological or behavioral symptoms of a UTI, be sure to secure the correct laboratory testing and/or thorough neurological exam for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
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