Geriatrician Questions Urinary Tract Infections

UTI infection question

How is it that a UTI can have such an effect on an older person? How does it affect their memory?

7 Answers

Unfortunately, the effect can be quite profound. Any exacerbation or illness can have a negative effect on memory, especially in those with early signs of dementia. This may also be due to delayed recognition of symptoms due to baseline cognitive issues.
Unfortunately that is too often the case. One of the hallmarks of a UTI in an elderly person is change in mental status. The bacteria dehydrates the individual and the bacteria causes fever with chills, much like a viral illness and the older individual usually does not have much reserve to fight the infection. It is not an uncommon problem.
A UTI (or any infection or medical issue really) can cause something known as Delirium in an older person. Delirium is like acute brain failure. It can make people act very off, sometimes psychotic, and definitely impairs memory. Treating the underlying issue appropriately (UTI) is the treatment. However if the older person already had memory issues related to dementia, sometimes they never recover to their prior cognitive background.
probably dehydration as a cause of UTI ? early sepsis ? possibly poor po intake medication interaction gets worse with poor intake
Older people especially with underlying dementia are prone to a metabolic encephalopathy insult.​
it won't affect the memory to have a UTI, probably you want to say those patient can have a delirium as a symptoms of uti, really this is a very common symptom in this age and probably the cognitive function start to decline most of the time when pt has frequent delirium attack , symptoms of UTI in elderly is fever and altered mental status ,