Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Mild cognitive impairment is a slow loss of memory and one's ability to think. It is noticeable to the patient himself, his family and friends. It creates problems related to language, thinking, memory and judgment. It is not a serious condition to affect one’s normal daily life and independent function. It affects 15 to 20% of old people above the age of 65 years. It can be measured by cognitive tests. It may increase the risk of development of dementia, Alzheimer‘s disease, and other neurological disorders.

Is Mild Cognitive Impairment A Serious Condition?

Is Mild Cognitive Impairment A Serious Condition?

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition marked by problems related to memory and thinking. It lies in between normal decline of cognitive behavior during aging and dementia and Alzheimer disease. It affects old above 65 years. Alzheimer’s Association states that 10-20% of this age group has mild cognitive impairment. Identifying mild cognitive impairment is often tricky as memory and thinking problems are often considered as a normal phenomenon of aging.

Mild cognitive impairment leads to impairments of one’s memory, language, thinking and judgment more than age-related changes. These changes are noticed by the affected person himself, his family and close friends. These changes are not strong enough to influence one’s daily routine and usual activities. Mild cognitive impairment is not a serious condition. Normally, these changes do not get worse and get better on its own. Only a few cases of mild cognitive impairment may transform into dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and other neurological problems.

It is impossible to keep the normal function of brain up to 100% when aging proceeds. The brain cells continue to deteriorating during aging. It becomes challenging to delay or reverse such changes. It is better to monitor such changes at the earliest and control them. However, new research studies have made it possible to delay and reverse such changes. Diet management can also contribute to this.

Causes Of Mild Cognitive Impairment

The causes of mild cognitive impairment are not clear. Scientific studies reveal that damages happened to brain cells similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease and some types of dementia might have caused mild cognitive impairment.

These changes noticed in people with mild cognitive impairment are-

  • Microscopic clumps of protein namely Lewy bodies
  • Reduced blood flow in the brain blood vessels
  • An abnormal number of beta-amyloid plaques with tangling of protein
  • Multiple small strokes
  • Shrinking of parts related to memory (hippocampus) in the brain
  • Less utilization of glucose in the thinking areas
  • Enlargement of ventricles (fluid-filled areas)

The risk factors of mild cognitive impairment are-

  • Aging
  • Genes related to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of physical and mental activities
  • Depression

Symptoms Of Mild Cognitive Impairment

A person with mild cognitive impairment, his family members and his friends notice certain changes in him, these changes are-

Forgetfulness – He cannot recall names, important dates, details, events, etc. He loses his interest in conversations. He misses what to say in the middle of a conversation. He frequently misplaces words in conversation. He may frequently misplace things around the house.

Anxiety – He may become anxious about trifles. He may be working on a task and may get anxious for others.

Response To Instructions – He may ask to repeat instruction again and again. He may ask help from someone to understand the instructions.

Loss Of Focus – He may feel that his thoughts are getting vulnerable and wandering. He cannot stay focused on a single thing.

Loss Of Judgment – He is unable to take simple decisions and judge for himself. He cannot plan his day efficiently. He cannot organize his thoughts to perform his tasks.

Conclusion

Mild cognitive impairment is a condition in which one's memory and ability to think gradually reduces. These changes are harmless and get resolved easily. It is not a serious condition. In 5-20 % of cases of mild cognitive impairment may progress to Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and other neurological ailments.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 19, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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