Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) involves the development of cognitive impairments, which are not consistent with other individuals of the same age or education level. With that being said, these impairments are not significant enough to significantly interfere with daily functioning.
In terms of stages, it’s challenging to pinpoint the evolution of this brain syndrome. Although MCI may be considered to be the earliest transitional stage between normal aging on the onset of dementia – research states that approximately 10 to 15 percent of individuals with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s.
Therefore, MCI in some cases, is a stage in itself. Displaying symptoms of MCI could mean that you are suffering from an intermediate stage, essentially progressing towards more serious dementia-related decline. With that being said, the following explains how MCI may progress.
The Development of MCI
At first, you may notice that you or your loved one are becoming increasingly forgetful. Perhaps you can’t remember the names of people you recently met or are misplacing things more than usual. You will more than likely be aware of these impairments and you may even create tools to assist you – relying more on personal note taking and calendars to set reminders.
Although many become concerned that they’re developing Alzheimer’s, symptoms will be less severe and independent functioning will still be a possibility. If this sounds like something you can relate to, start taking notes regarding your symptoms. When do impairments occur and for how long? What type of information are you forgetting? This is the type of information that will be useful to your doctor.
If you are diagnosed with MCI, there is no need to panic. As mentioned, the development of MCI does not necessarily mean that you will develop dementia. In fact, it’s been said that as many as 30 percent of MCI cases will not develop any further – and in some cases, individuals completely recover. Although everyone is unique and other factors may play a role, you can expect the following steps in terms of MCI criteria:
- Cognitive issues are recognized – both by the individual and their loved ones
- When tested, abnormal cognitive functioning is detected
- Individual with MCI will still be able to perform daily tasks and activities
- There is an absence of dementia
- Symptoms will be monitored to verify whether or not impairments are progressive in nature
If your loved one has been displaying these symptoms, it’s critical that you support them – helping them cope and remain active. Remember, their symptoms are not within their control and they will rely on those around them to be supportive and understanding.
Alzheimer’s Society. (2014). Mild Cognitive Impairment. Retrieved from