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Prince Philip hospitalized. Bladder infection? That can be serious

August 15, 2012
  • Prince Philip, center, with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Edward, at right, was in kilt and good spirits at an appearance in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Prince Philip, center, with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Edward, at right,… (David Cheskin / Getty Images…)

Prince Philip, the 91-year-old consort to Queen Elizabeth II, is back in the hospital, this time for a recurrence of a urinary tract infection he suffered earlier in the summer.

Buckingham Palace says he'll be in for a few days for observation and treatment, according to the Associated Press. Bladder infection sounds like a minor problem, but it can be serious -- particularly among the elderly.

In a worst-case scenario, urinary tract infections can result in acute or chronic kidney infection -- causing permanent kidney damage or failure -- or sepsis, a possibly deadly infection of the bloodstream, according to health websites.

UTIs have been misdiagnosed simply as "aging." Among the elderly, the infections can cause them to act confused or lethargic. And those symptoms may be the only signs of a bladder infection in an elderly person, according to the National Institutes of Health.

A number of conditions can contribute to bladder infections among the elderly, including diabetes, enlarged prostate and kidney stones.

Immobility is a further factor -- though that's not one that can be cited in the case of Prince Philip.

The former naval officer has shown himself to be a hardy individual, motoring through his 80s in robust fashion. He cut back after hitting his 90th birthday, but he still is active. 

He was hospitalized in June for five days with a bladder infection that may have stemmed, according to an AP report, from a prolonged appearance at a flotilla pageant held in conjunction with the queen's Diamond Jubilee.

In July, Philip went to the Olympics opening ceremony and saw granddaughter Zara Phillips in an equestrian competition. On Monday, the AP reported, he took part in activities on the Isle of Wight.

As the Los Angeles Times reported in December, Prince Philip underwent emergency surgery on a blocked coronary artery. Britain's royal family was gathered at the time for the traditional holiday festivities at England's Sandringham Estate. 


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