UTI/elderly question

  1. Why UTI's often cause change in mental status in elderly?

    I would like to know the rational or pathopys behind this.
    I know this is a frequent sign, but I can't find the anwser.
    Anyone know why?

    I have ask my collegues, peer, and search the net. If any one can answer this and possibly give a web site with the answer on it, I would be greatly appreciative. Thanks
  2. Visit Krojas21 profile page

    About Krojas21

    Joined: Sep '03; Posts: 22
    Registered Nurse (postpartum/newborn)


  3. by   BHolliRNMS
    infection and dehydration both affect the elderly's mental status. And usually if a resident has a UTI, they are a little dehydrated also.
  4. by   leslie :-D
    you will also find in dealing with the elderly is that they do not present with classic s/s of anything!!!! most times they're afebrile and the only change you're going to see is in their very subtle changes of ms. with this population, you're using your assessment skills at their finest.

  5. by   CoffeeRTC
    Yep. First sign of and infection or other medical problem in the elderly is usually mental changes. That may be the only sign.
  6. by   Krojas21
    Thanks for all your input, but I still want to know why. Whats the pathophys behind it. I know elderly can show signs different from the younger crowd, but why a change in mental status, what is the connection of a uti and mental staus? What does the body sense that if different from a younger person?
  7. by   purplemania
    dehydration affects electrolytes which may have neuro effects
  8. by   leslie :-D
    many of the functions in the elderly are greatly diminished including sensory, neuromuscular and cognition. lethary and/or agitation are a predictable response when electrolytes are imbalanced; the infection process compounded w/dehyradation affects most people that way. it's just that when you're younger, you can also tell them, "it burns when i pee" or they'll spike a temp which elderly often don't because of sluggish chemo/baro receptors. compensatory mechanisms also are delayed in elderly.
  9. by   donmurray
    I've heard it related to raised toxins, white cell count, etc as the body responds to the infection. Constipation will do it too! Especially if mental status is shaky to begin with.
  10. by   renerian
    AHHHHHHHHH that eye is freaking me out LOL. Where did you find that????

    Yep the elderly go from 0 to septic with relation to UTIs.