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Acute Diarrhea in the Elderly – The Risk Factors

Sign, symptom, or conditionSign of, and TreatmentReference
Sunken eyesDehydration; Patient may need referral to Doctor or urgent rehydration, depending on severity. Patient may benefit from blood testsJohnson and Smith, 2012: 94.
High NEWS2 ScoreSepsis; patient may need antibiotics and emergency treatmentRoyal College of Physicians, 2017  
Covid-19The diarrhoea could be a sign of deterioration, but the evidence for this is weakAmico et al, 2020  
Female and increased ageIncreased risk of dehydrationRowat et al, cited in Sweetser, 2012
Heart or kidney failure; take steroidsIncreased risk of overhydration; patient may require emergency treatmentSweetser, 2012; WHO, 2021.
DizzinessDehydration; patient may require urgent rehydrationSweetser, 2012; WHO, 2021
Confusion; seizuresDehydration or overhydration; electrolyte imbalances; patient may require emergency treatment and urgent rehydrationSweetser, 2012; WHO, 2021
Type 2 Diabetes; metforminMetformin can cause the symptoms; diabetes is a risk factor due to potential difficulties managing the conditionJohnson and Smith, 2012: 96
ImmunosuppressedRisk of deteriorationJohnson and Smith, 2012: 96
Bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or diverticulitisMay indicate more severe illnessJohnson and Smith, 2012: 96
Blood in stoolsMay be an indication of abdominal bleedingJohnson and Smith, 2012: 96

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