Receiving a diagnosis of any kind can be worrying, especially if you don’t fully understand the condition and what it means for you. If you visit the doctor about memory problems, then you might be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The name sounds scary, but you can rest assured that it is not dementia.
If you’re having memory problems or have been diagnosed with MCI, then read on to find out more about this condition.
What is mild cognitive impairment?
Mild cognitive impairment refers to worsened cognitive skills beyond that which would be expected of your age. Our ability to think and recall things naturally worsens as we get older, but people with MCI have it a little worse than that. However, this impairment is not enough to cause much concern or disrupt everyday life.
So how can you tell if you have mild cognitive impairment or if you’re just getting forgetful in your old age? Here are some of the symptoms that are typical of MCI:
- Forgetting basic details more often
- Forgetting dates and events, such as an appointment or a friend’s birthday
- Loss of focus or ability to concentrate
- Difficulty making decisions
- Poor judgment
How does it differ from dementia?
Although they have related symptoms, MCI is not a form of dementia. While it can sometimes predict a future onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is not a guarantee. The symptoms of MCI may even be caused by another condition that affects our cognitive abilities, such as depression. This means that MCI may be temporary if the condition causing these symptoms can be treated or managed.
Other people will simply live with mild cognitive impairment throughout their senior years without it affecting their lives too much. They could just be a little more forgetful or not as sharp as they used to be. For some patients, however, mild cognitive impairment will continue to progress over the years and may result in a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
This is why it’s important to monitor your condition and your cognitive abilities so you can notice if they worsen. Also, look out for personality or behavioral changes that may be associated with dementia, such as irritability and aggression. See your doctor on a regular basis to reassess your cognitive abilities if you are concerned about your condition.
If you think memory care could help you or a loved one lead a fuller life, then contact us at Brookstone of Clemmons to find out more about our Alzheimer’s care services. We operate around Winston Salem, Bermuda Run, Clemmons, and Lewisville to help more seniors lead a happy and fulfilling life.