What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

People with mild cognitive impairment may have difficulty remembering specific names or words.
What is mild cognitive impairment?

Mild cognitive impairment is a condition that tends to be confused with dementia. In fact, some experts consider it an early stage, while others classify it as an independent pathology.

Cognitive functions such as memory, language and thinking are affected more significantly than in normal aging.

Mild cognitive impairment affects a large part of the population. It is estimated that it increases with age and reaches almost 40% of the elderly over 85 years of age. Women are more likely to develop it than men.

This pathology is still being studied, but advances in its definition and possible treatments are increasing every day. That’s why, in this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about mild cognitive impairment.

What is mild cognitive impairment?

Over the years, the brain, like our entire body, also changes. It is relatively normal for certain aspects, such as memory, to be subtly affected by aging.

However,  people who experience mild cognitive impairment  often find that their cognitive functions are greatly reduced. As we have already mentioned, some of these functions are memory, thinking and language. For example, someone with this disability may take longer to remember a specific word or name. However, these changes do not usually interfere with daily activities.

This is the main difference compared to dementia: mild cognitive impairment allows you to continue maintaining your normal routine. In contrast, people with dementia have greater difficulties, such as problems performing tasks that were once simple.

Some experts say this deterioration increases the risk that someone will develop dementia in the future, whether Alzheimer’s or otherwise. However, the truth is that some people with mild cognitive impairment never reach this point of dementia.

Mild cognitive impairment in old age

What are the symptoms?

As we said, people with mild cognitive impairment have problems that go slightly beyond those associated with normal aging. Some of them are:

  • Tendency to forget things more often, such as appointments or important events.
  • Often the thread of conversation is lost and it is more difficult to be able to follow a movie or read a book.
  • Planning an activity or making decisions seems to be more complicated.
  • You may experience some symptoms of depression, anxiety or apathy.

It is normal for family members or close people to notice these changes. It is important that, if this happens, you try to calm the person down so as not to aggravate their confusion further. It is also essential to consult a doctor.

What are the symptomatic differences in relation to dementia?

People with dementia have more severe symptoms that affect their daily lives. First, memory leaks are more pronounced. Remembering family names can be difficult, and amnesia can occur.

Furthermore, the sense of direction is affected, which makes these people tend to get lost even in familiar paths. Personal or household items are also more easily lost.

Those with dementia may experience a loss of interest in everything they used to care about, a condition also called abulia. It is normal for behavior to change and social skills to decline.

The loneliness of the elderly

How is mild cognitive impairment diagnosed?

The diagnosis of this pathology is complex, as there is no specific evidence to confirm it.  However, there are certain criteria and tests that help guide the diagnosis, in addition to the symptoms we have already mentioned.

Doctors can administer tests such as the Mini Mental State Examination. This exam asks the person to answer several simple questions, such as saying a date or following a referral. These tests last about 10 minutes and allow the doctor to compare a person’s mental functioning with that of others of a similar age.

Conclusion

If you think that you or someone in your family is suffering from mild cognitive impairment, do not hesitate to see a doctor or psychologist, as they will be able to make a proper assessment and propose certain measures that will help to deal with the situation.

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