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Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease adn Urinary Infections

09/01/2004

Question:

My friend, I think, is in denial. Her mom has Alzheimer's and she is telling family members that the reason her mom forgets all the time is because she has a urine infection and when the infection goes away she will not forget any more. Is this true?

Answer:

Older adults with an infection, such as a urine or urinary tract infection, often do have changes in their memory and thinking, such as forgetting all the time.  When the infection clears, their memory tends to improve.  If your mother's friend does have a urinary tract infection, that could be a reason for her forgetting all the time.  It will be important for your friend to take their mother to a doctor, so they can treat the infection.  If your mother's friend does have Alzheimer's disease, a urinary tract infection would result in her being even more forgetful then usual.  So, again, it will be important to see a doctor.

It is very difficult for family to face Alzheimer's disease in a loved one, so your friend may be using the urinary tract infection as an explanation or reason for the forgetfulness.  Your friend also may not want to tell others that her mother does have Alzheimer's disease, so she may just be telling everyone else that it is an infection.  You can best help your friend by talking about Alzheimer' s disease and forgetfulness and encouraging her to be open about it and to see a doctor for help.

For more information:

Go to the Alzheimer's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Paula K Ogrocki, PhD Paula K Ogrocki, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University