Monday, April 23, 2007

UTI: No Laughing Matter

Urinary tract infections can have devastating effects in the elderly. Often lacking any noticeable symptoms, the results can include cognitive impairment, confusion, aggression and hostility.

Recently, Cal just seemed to be a bit off - a little more confused than normal, and struggling to accomplish tasks that usually pose no difficulty. After a week without any improvement, we had Cal pee in a cup and the lab confirmed out suspicions. Antibiotics were prescribed and an immediate improvement in cognition was noticed.

A few months ago, before we were alerted to the indications and impacts of a UTI, Cal went through a period of declining cognition, paranoia and aggression. Pill time became a big battle, with Cal denying that he ever took pills, that the doctors didn't know what he needed, if in fact they had even prescribed the pills. An hour-long battle three times a day ultimately ended with a ambulance ride in restraints to the hospital after Cal started throwing things. A UTI was discovered in the hospital.

Cognitive or behavioral changes from a UTI can occur gradually or rapidly and symptoms may not include fever, burning or frequent urination or the other conditions typically associated with a UTI. Urinary tract infections may not always be indicated by a simple "dip stick" test - samples should be sent to the lab and cultured.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Be aware that the cognitive impairments and behavioral changes associated with a UTI can take several days or longer to clear up after the underlying infection is cured.