Do Infections Lead to Dementia?
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Do Infections Lead to Dementia?

The National Institute of Health cites that inflammation caused by infectious diseases can contribute to dementia. Furthermore, the National Center for Biotechnical Research provides a great historical view of how at the turn of the century, infectious disease represented a high risk of mortality for many. One condition, neurosyphilis, was directly related to the cause of a cognitive decline in that era. With the advent of antibiotic treatments, the line became blurry with the association of infectious diseases with dementia. The truth is that the risk for infectious-related complications increases with age due to the changes in the immune system’s response to disease. We also know that inflammation in the brain leads to delirium or acute mental confusion. Some dementia-related disorders are reversible, and some are not. So it’s best to speak to your doctor and get the proper information. Early diagnosis is critical to having a greater quality of life, even in the discourse of a dementia-related disease journey.

Infections can cause short-term memory decline which is reversible once the infection clears. But they can also lead to long-term cognitive impairment in people who are already on the trajectory toward dementia. In fact, infections can unmask dementia in people with subtle symptoms. Most of the cases of sudden confusion and rapidly progressive dementia in an elderly person are due to delirium caused by an infection. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) and pneumonia can trigger acute confusion that comes on quickly, causing people to be incoherent, muddled, and disoriented. With proper hygienic perineal care, UTI’s can be prevented; Proper dental care can also prevent gum disease and reduce the risk of getting an infection. 

While we do not know what triggers dementia in some, and not others, and we know there is no cure. Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent infections and thereby allow you to live a preventative and healthy lifestyle.

Prevention then becomes the key to living a healthy lifestyle. One can prevent infection by participating in activities that boost your immune system.

1.       Participating in healthy exercise is a critical part of this lifestyle choice

2.       A healthy diet is crucial to renew your systems and keep them working as they should

3.       Practicing great hygiene is also a very critical part of a healthy lifestyle.

4.       Getting proper immunizations is also a great course of action

Here at Silverado Red Rock Memory Care we take a very close look at infections with our residents, prevention is the key, and quick attention to them is paramount. With our Medical Director at the helm, we try in every manner possible to mitigate the risk of infections. Come visit us at Silverado to learn more about the holistic medical care we offer our residents. Call Cathy Anderson to schedule a tour at (702) 337-2480