Mild Cognitive Impairment: Different than Alzheimer’s or Dementia?

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is associated with typical memory changes caused by aging, causing a slight but noticeable and measurable decline in cognitive abilities, including memory and thinking skills.  Your tendency to be forgetful doesn’t necessarily mean you have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Instead, you may have MCI.

While MCI does increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and/or other dementias, some people with MCI never experience further cognitive decline.  Further, MCI usually does not interfere with daily function in the way Alzheimer’s disease does.  However, people with this condition often recognize that their mental function has declined.
There are two types of MCI: amnesic and non-amnesic. Amnesic MCI is more common than non-amnesic MCI.  Symptoms may include forgetting about important appointments, or missing events that you had planned to attend.
On the other hand, non-amnesic MCI is characterized by impaired thinking and struggling with self-awareness, organization, or judgement.  Symptoms may include difficulty with making plans, or problem-solving.
Key facts about mild cognitive impairment

  • It can be difficult to diagnose.
  • There is no standardized/conclusive way to know if a person has MCI.
  • The underlying cause of MCI is yet to be determined.
  • It is unclear why some people with MCI develop Alzheimer’s disease and others do not.
  • There is no proven treatment for MCI.
  • If you’re concerned, discuss your feelings with your doctor. Be re-evaluated regularly by your doctor to determine changes in your symptoms.