There are more than 40,000 people under the age of 65 who have dementia and the most common causes of the disease include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia. Diagnosing dementia, and which type of dementia, is important as it ensures a person can get the right support and treatments plan for the future. Having an unusual bladder problem could mean you are at risk of having dementia.
Bladder incontinence is a common symptom of dementia. Alzheimer’s Society said: “People with dementia can experience difficulties with using the toilet.
“Accidents and incontinence can also cause problems, particularly as their condition progresses. This can be upsetting for the person and for those around them.
“A person with dementia is more likely to have accidents, problems with toilet or incontinence than a person of the same age who doesn’t have dementia.”
For some people, bladder incontinence develops because messages between the brain and the bladder don’t work properly.
This may mean people don’t recognise that they have a full bladder, or have control needed to empty them.
This usually occurs for a person with advanced dementia.
Reasons for bladder incontinence include:
- Not being able to react quickly enough to the sensation of needing to use the toilet
- Failing to get to the toilet in time because of mobility problems
- Not being able to tell someone that they need to go to the toilet because of problems communicating
- Not being able to find, recognise, or use the toilet. If someone becomes confused about their surroundings, they may urinate in an inappropriate place
- Not understanding a prompt from someone to use the toilet
- Not being able to, or forgetting how to perform the activities of using the toilet
- Not letting others help with going to the toilet
- Embarrassment after an accident, which the person unsuccessfully tries to deal with
Other common symptoms of dementia include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems with language
- Disorientation to time and place
- Problems keeping track of things
- Misplacing things
- changes in mood and behaviour
Alzheimer’s Research UK stated: “An individual’s risk of developing dementia is made up of different factors, including age, genetics and lifestyle.
“Research has shown that some of the factors that increase a person’s risk of developing dementia are the same risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and obesity.
“We must continue to normalise the conversation about dementia, sharing the varied experiences of those affected and taking collective responsibility to ensure the accurate portrayal of dementia across the media, arts and popular culture.”