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What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Your loved one has started experiencing memory problems. They can’t easily remember where they put things, what happened last week, or important events. These can be the signs of dementia. However, symptoms may not be that severe, and these problems can be caused by mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Mild cognitive impairment is considered to be a normal part of the aging process. It is halfway between normal forgetfulness and dementia. Symptoms can worsen over time and cause dementia. Studies show that between 10% and 15% of seniors diagnosed with MCI develop further cognitive issues which can be described as dementia symptoms.

Have in mind this isn’t the case with every senior having MCI. There are cases of people even improving their cognitive skills over time and losing MCI symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of MCI?

Signs of mild cognitive impairment are difficult to distinguish from the symptoms of other cognitive issues. However, you may suspect your loved ones suffer from MCI if they repeat the same question over and over again. They can also have difficulties in remembering what has recently happened or the appointments they have made.

Lack of concentration is also one of the signs of MCI. If seniors are easily distracted and lose the flow of a conversation too often, then MCI may be the reason. In some cases, seniors need a lot of time to come up with the right word.

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Other symptoms include orientation issues in the house and when walking up and down the stairs. Seniors with MCI may also develop depression and apathy, but these are never a definite sign that people suffer from this condition.

For more about MCI signs, read here.

Who Is at Risk of Developing MCI?

The problem is that there are still a lot of unknown aspects of this condition. There is no expert who can certainly tell what causes MCI. However, many believe a family history of cognitive issues is a strong sign that a person is under risk of developing the symptoms.

Reportedly, cardiovascular diseases contribute to MCI development. Diabetes is also among the factors which increase the risk. Smoking and not being physically active enhance the risk, as well as being depressed or feeling isolated.

However, the only certain risk factor is old age. The older we are, the higher the chances of developing MCI symptoms.

How to Fight Against MCI

Once you start suspecting your older adult has cognitive issues, consult a doctor. The doctor should determine whether it is MCI, dementia, or perhaps another condition.

In the case of MCI, doctors can only monitor whether the symptoms are getting worse over time. Unfortunately, there is no medication to help people diagnosed with this condition. Studies that were examining the efficiency of medications for treating Alzheimer’s in fighting against MCI didn’t get positive results.

However, seniors can try to reduce the risk of developing further cognitive problems if they follow the advice below:

  1. Exercise regularly. This will help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well.
  2. Eat healthy food.
  3. Limit alcohol intake and avoid cigarettes at any cost.
  4. Engage with other people and treat depression symptoms promptly.

The science still has a lot of questions to answer regarding mild cognitive impairment. Once researchers determine the main causes of the disease, they will able to find a medication that will slow down the progression of the disease.

Until then, all you can do is try to reduce the risk by leading a healthy life.


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