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Your Healthy Family: Risks of urinary tract infections in older men

Posted at 7:10 AM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 07:46:35-04

Former President Bill Clinton is recovering at home after being in the hospital with a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream. This type of infection impacts thousands of older men every year. Doctors say it can be dangerous, and even deadly.

"It's a medical emergency, especially in an individual over the age of 65,' Dr. Peter Hotez from Baylor College of Medicine said.

Doctors said Clinton, 75, developed a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream; a dangerous illness called sepsis.

"About 25 percent of all sepsis cases start as urinary tract infections, and then it proceeded to the blood," Dr. Hotez said.

Urinary tract infections are common in older people, but can be tough to diagnose. Some symptoms include confusion, weakness, and muscle aches.

"Left untreated, it has a very high mortality rate," Dr. Hotez said.

This infection is easy to treat, but early detection is key. Doctors were able to give Clinton antibiotics and fluids. While urinary tract infections are most common in women, thousands of men get them every year, and the risk of infection increases with age.

"It just goes to show you how fragile things can get as you get older, and you have to be alert to tell-tale signs of extreme fatigue, or fever, or shivering, or cold," Dr. Hotez said.