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Mild Cognitive Impairment Vs. Dementia

Mild Cognitive Impairment Vs. Dementia

Having short-term troubles with memory does not necessarily mean you are suffering from dementia. It takes at least two types of impairments that significantly disrupt your day to day activities to get you a diagnosis of dementia.[1]

There is a possible connection between mild cognitive impairment and dementia. However, they are not same and affect people both similarly and differently. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia are not the same. Though persons suffering from mild cognitive impairment are at a greater risk of developing dementia, being affected by mild cognitive impairment does not necessarily mean that it will lead to dementia over time.[2]

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia are not the same. In order to see the differences between the two conditions, let us first have a look at what both these conditions actually mean.

What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Mild cognitive impairment is a noticeable and a measurable condition, in which there is a decline of a person’s cognitive abilities like memory and thinking skills. In mild cognitive impairment, only the cognitive abilities of a person are impaired. Mild cognitive impairment does not cause any problems or interference with a person’s day to day activities. The cause of mild cognitive impairment is yet unknown. Mild cognitive impairment is not dementia.[3]

Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment are-

  • If you have started to forget things more often than is normal for you
  • You have started to forget important events like appointments
  • You have problems with finding your way around, especially in a known place
  • Your decisions are not quite up to the mark lately
  • Your family or friends talk to you about or mark any of these changes in you
  • You are lost in your thread of conversation or train of thought, like while discussing a movie
  • You feel a difficulty in understanding instructions, planning how to execute a task or making decisions
  • You may experience depression setting in
  • You may get easily irritable or aggression sets in for trivial matters
  • You experience anxiety more often than not[4]

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a syndrome or a group of symptoms that is responsible for impairments of areas like cognitive skills which include memory, speech thinking, functional abilities which include day to day activities like walking, eating etc. and in behavior and mood. Dementia shows impairment in many areas of brain including the one that controls cognitive skills. To make it easier to understand, dementia is caused due to the dying of the brain cells in important areas of the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is the commonest form of dementia. Dementia affects a person’s day to day activities and quality of life gets disrupted. The cause of dementia is yet unknown, however, specialists believe that it may be due to stress or illness.[5]

According to some researchers, MCI can be thought of as a line between normal aging and dementia.[6] It cannot be overlooked that many MCI cases go on to develop into some type of dementia.

Dementia is a progressive disease and is seen to be interfering with day to day activities and quality of life.

Symptoms Of Dementia

Along with the difficulty in remembering things, there may be other symptoms as well-

  • There may be difficulty in language abilities
  • There may be difficulty in communication
  • You may be having difficulty in focusing
  • There may be a difficulty in reasoning abilities
  • There may be subtle short-term memory changes
  • You may find it difficult to find the right words needed in the conversation
  • There may be changes in your mood which your friends and family may notice
  • You may experience apathy
  • You may face unusual difficulties in completing tasks which you would otherwise complete without a hitch
  • You may have confusion over things
  • You may find difficulty in grasping a storyline
  • You may have troubles in spatial orientation and sense of direction
  • You may become repetitive without you knowing it
  • You may find yourself in a position where you are struggling to get adapted.[7]


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 22, 2022

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