What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?
Mild Cognitive Impairment is the intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia. It can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes. Research has found that 10% to15% of all adults over the age of 65 have Mild Cognitive Impairment. Of this percentage, 50% will progress to develop Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.
Symptoms of MCI
The primary sympton of Mild Cognitive Impairment, or MCI, is memory loss. Individuals with MCI DO NOT have problems with performing activities associated with daily living, their thinking is clear and normal, they are not depressed, and their “mini-mental” exam score is 23 or higher. Other symptoms include: asking the same questions over and over, getting lost when driving or walking, forgetting important dates or events, difficulty switching from one topic or tasks to another, and problems multi-tasking.
Cause of MCI
Several medical problems increase the risk of developing Mild Cognitive Impairment.
- High Cholesterol
- Thyroid Problems
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Head Trauma or Head Injury
Treatment of MCI
If a medical problem is causing MCI, especially Vitamin B12 deficiency or thyroid problems, resolution of the medical problem will likely improve the mild cognitive impairment. There is no specific medication that treats MCI. Other strategies include exercise, educational activities, social activities, and a healthy diet.
Tools and Strategies
- Carrying a calendar with you to keep up with appointments
- Daily lists to serve as reminders
- Social interactions and supports help improve functioning
- Family/Caregiver support to organize medications and go to medical or other important appointments
- If symptoms begin to affect activities of daily living, follow up with your physician
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