Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are a common infection that affect more women than men and if left untreated can cause Sepsis.
Most often, they are treated quickly and effectively with antibiotics, the infection becoming a distant memory. Unfortunately, not all UTIs are treated quickly and some aren’t even identified quickly, particularly in people who have limited or no sensation below the waist or who are unable to speak for themselves.
An untreated UTI may spread to the kidney, causing more pain and illness. It can also cause sepsis. The term urosepsis is usually used to describe sepsis caused by a UTI.
Sometimes called blood poisoning, sepsis is the body’s often deadly response to infection or injury. Sepsis kills and disables millions and requires early suspicion and rapid treatment for survival.
People shouldn’t die from a UTI, but if sepsis begins to take over and develops to severe sepsis and then to septic shock, this is exactly what can happen. More than half the cases of urosepsis among older adults are caused by a UTI.
Sepsis and septic shock can result from an infection anywhere in the body, such as pneumonia, influenza, or urinary tract infections. Worldwide, one-third of people who develop sepsis die. Many who do survive are left with life-changing effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and fatigue, and organ dysfunction (organs don’t work properly) and/or amputations.
What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection is an infection in the urinary tract, which runs from your kidneys, through the ureters, the urinary bladder and out through the urethra. UTIs are very common and, in general, easy to treat.
A lower UTI, the more common type, affects the lower part of the urinary tract, the urethra and urinary bladder. Infection of the urethra is called urethritis and of the bladder is called cystitis. If the kidney is infected, called pyelonephritis, this is an upper UTI, as the kidney is the highest part of the urinary tract.
A UTI can be caused by bacteria (the most common type of infection) or a fungus.
How do you get a UTI?
The design of the human body makes it so it isn’t difficult to get a bacterial UTI, because the infection comes from outside, through the urethra. Bacteria in the genital area near the opening of the urethra find their way in to the urinary tract, either because wiping after going to the bathroom, sexual activity, or unsanitary conditions. Once the bacteria has entered the urethra, the body tries its best to fight it off, but sometimes the immune system can’t do this, the bacteria multiply, and cause the infection.
In the case of a fungal infection, usually the fungus gets to the urinary tract through the blood stream. (Sepsis and Fungal Infections) Those who develop this type of infection are usually ill with a disease that has compromised their immune system, such as AIDS. (Sepsis and HIV/AIDS)
In general, women get more UTIs than do men and this increases with age. Statistics show that many women get more than one. Almost 20% of women who have had one UTI will go on to have a second. Of this 20%, 30% of those will have a third, and in turn, 80% of these women will have more. (NKUDIC)
In the early stages of a lower UTI, you may feel:
- Sudden and extreme urges to void (pass urine)
- Frequent urges to void
- Burning, irritation or pain as you void
- A feeling of not emptying your bladder completely
- A feeling of pressure in your abdomen or lower back
- Thick or cloudy urine – it may contain blood
As the infection progresses, you may experience:
- Pain in the lower flank, part of the back where your kidneys are located
- Nausea and vomiting
Seniors may not show any of these signs or they may be too subtle for someone else to pick up. An added symptom among this age group is confusion. Often, if a senior’s behavior changes suddenly, they may have an undiagnosed UTI.
When caught early, it is usually quite easy to treat a bacterial UTI effectively. After confirming that you do have an infection (usually through a simple examination of a urine sample), you would be prescribed antibiotics to fight the particular bacteria causing the infection. You also would be encouraged to drink a lot of water, to help flush out the infection.
If your doctor suspects that the infection may have spread, you may be sent for additional tests, such as blood tests, scans of your kidneys or an ultrasound.
If you or your loved one has had re-current Urinary Tract Infections in any long term care facility such as Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living, or an Acute Care Hospital and has been injured by the failure to respond properly, or at all timely to these symptoms call the PECK LAW GROUP, APC immediately toll free at 1-800-999-9085. We will fight for you and get you the compensation you justly deserve