Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate condition between age-related cognitive decline and dementia. There are a number of factors which can be responsible for cognitive decline. It will be a difficult task to identify the exact reason for mild cognitive impairment. The diagnosis will involve monitoring of the patients and understanding the symptoms and reasons for memory impairment. Some forms of mild cognitive impairment can be temporary, careful assessment can indicate depression, anxiety or stress as the reason. The treatment of disease condition can improve memory and cognition. Mild cognitive impairment, if left untreated can gradually result in dementia and progressive memory loss. Here, we list you the possible causes of mild cognitive impairment.

What Causes You To Have A Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Neurodegenerative Disorders. Disease conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy-Body disease, Parkinson’s disease, and frontotemporal degeneration damages and kills the neurons. The damaged and lost neurons gradually decrease the memory and eventually results in complete memory loss i.e. dementia.

Injury To Nerves. Damage to nerve cells because of strokes or cerebral small vessel disease resulting in vascular damage to the neurons. Even head injuries can result in major or mild cognitive impairment.

Metabolic Imbalance. Improper functioning of the organs responsible for metabolism i.e. liver and kidney can result in metabolic imbalances. There will be abnormal levels of blood sodium, calcium, or glucose which can affect brain function and cause mild cognitive impairment.

Hormonal imbalance. Patients suffering from hormonal imbalances due to thyroid or sex hormones can result in mild cognitive impairment. The restoration of hormone balance results in reversing of the cognition activities.

Nutrients. For healthy functioning of the nerve health, the B-Vitamins play an important role. People should have adequate amounts of vitamin B12, pyridoxine, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folate either through diet or supplements. Any deficiency or low concentration can result in improper functioning of the nervous system and causes mild cognitive impairment.

Psychiatric Diseases. Psychiatric diseases such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety can impair thinking and concentration ability. Delirium can also cause mild cognitive impairment. Delirium is common in patients’ suffering from serious illness. It can be due to infections or other health conditions.

Antipsychotics And Mood-Stabilizers. They are usually prescribed for patients with Alzheimer’s to manage the behavioral attitude. These drugs have a sedating effect on the body and decrease the functioning of the brain.

Opiate Pain Medications. The drug in this category includes hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, methadone, hydromorphone, etc. which hampers the thinking ability in the long-term users and cause mild cognitive impairment.

Benzodiazepines. These are the most commonly used drugs for insomnia and help relieve anxiety. Benzodiazepines tend to be habit-forming and affect the functioning of the brain. The commonly prescribed medicines are Ativan, Valium, Restoril, and Xanax.

Non-Benzodiazepine Sedatives. “z-drugs” Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta have been linked to dementia. The effects are reversed once the drug is withdrawn from the prescription.

Anticholinergic Drugs. The most commonly prescribed OTC sleeping aids are anticholinergic drugs. These agents block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The higher the anticholinergic activity of the drug, higher is the imbalance in the memory and cognition. These drugs act in opposite to Alzheimer’s drug

Drug Abuse. Lifestyle of an individual can also result in mild cognitive impairment. The substances such as alcohol, drugs or even some prescription medicines can result in the decline in cognition.

Infections. It might sound weird to identify infection as the cause of cognitive impairment. Chronic or acute infections affect brain cells and can result in cognitive impairment. In infections, it is often referred to as delirium.

Toxins. The environment has become quite polluted with heavy metals, pesticides, and contaminants in drinking water and food, air pollutants, etc. These agents can affect the brain functioning and decline in memory and cognition.

Conclusion

Mild cognitive impairment can be due to brain damage, hormonal imbalance, medications, infections, nutrient deficiency, psychiatric disease conditions, etc. identification of the cause of MCI can help in treating and or alleviating symptoms.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 10, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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