As healthy adults looking to age in their homes, we can sometimes be dismissive of minor aches and pains. However, healthy aging starts with paying attention to the signals your body sends you and recognizing when you may be dealing with something that requires medical intervention. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are a good example. UTIs, are a very common type of infection and for elderly patients, studies have found a significant increase in occurrence of them as we age. While in your youth, these infections are easily identified and quickly treated, however as we get older, they become more common and if left unchecked more dangerous to your health.
Understanding the symptoms and the risks
The symptoms can start out small but can evolve if the infection is left untreated. The following symptoms are common early signs you may have a UTI:
- Increase in urgency and frequency of urination
- pelvic pain
- pain when urinating
- blood in the urine
- back pain
- nausea, or
- In seniors, symptoms may also include: fever, chills, falls, urine with odor, incontinence and decreased appetite.
In seniors, UTI’s can cause confusion and symptoms that mimic Alzheimer’s. If left untreated, a UTI, can travel to the bloodstream, causing an individual to become septic. At that point, it becomes a medical emergency and typically requires hospitalization for IV antibiotics. So what starts off as a little back pain, can quickly change if left unchecked. Testing for and treatment for UTIs is typically pretty straightforward. Testing is done through urinalysis and urine cultures to determine the appropriate course of medication. There are a variety of causes of UTI’s including structural changes, enlarged prostate, poor hygiene, dehydration, changes in bacteria. When in doubt, reach out to your primary care physician, visit the local urgent care or utilize at-home medical services that may be available to you.
Kendal at Home is pleased to host Anna Myers, Certified Nurse Practitioner and urology specialist with University Hospital, as she details the importance of being on the lookout for UTIs, and what to do if you think that you may have one. Anna will also review a few simple tips on preventing this type of illness. Please join us on November 18th at 1:00 pm to attend this informative event. You can register directly on our website at www.kendalathome.org.