CogniFit's Science blog: Life After Mild Cognitive Impairment Comes With Hope

Life After Mild Cognitive Impairment Comes With Hope

Mild cognitive impairment is the intermediate stage of an expected cognitive decline of normal aging and where dementia truly begins to settle in.

There are countless characteristics that sum the disease up, but it is most notably recognized by problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment.

People often get confused with typical age-related changes and mild cognitive impairment. As soon as your memory or mental function begins to slip, you have reason to keep an eye on things. As soon as the symptoms interfere with your day-to-day life it is time to get to the doctor.

What many do not realize is that this is a pre-cursor to dementia like Alzheimer’s. If it begins to play tricks with your memory, there is reason to be concerned. But for some, symptoms never worsen and the chance of improving is also there.

Whether you like it or not, your brain is going to change with age just like the rest of your body. Almost everyone will notice some minor forgetfulness over time like what someone’s name is or where they put their keys. It is the consistency or increasingly worse symptoms that become problematic.

Are you forgetting things more often? Do you forget important events like social engagements or appointments? Do you often lose your train of thought? This is all connected with mild cognitive impairment along with the feeling of being overwhelmed by making decisions or interpreting instructions.

Other signs to be aware of is having trouble finding your way around familiar places or becoming more impulsive. And if your friends and family begin to notice a difference, take it as a sign of caution rather than judgment.

Your mood and behavior may change with the progression as well. It is not uncommon for people to feel depressed, irritable, anxious or even aggressive and full of apathy. If any of these signs become relevant, it is particularly crucial you see a doctor.

As for the cause to mild cognitive impairment, it is unfortunately one of those things that has no single cause at this point. At the same time, there is no single outcome to fear either as you can potentially get better.

After looking at autopsy studies of people, many of the same changes seen in Alzheimer’s form with mild cognitive impairment, just to a lesser degree. These changes include small strokes or reduced blood flow through brain blood vessels, shrinkage of the hippocampus and an enlargement of the brain’s fluid-filled spaces.

The upside to keep in mind is that there is hope for improvement rather than a constant decline. But just know that it is a serious condition that needs to be taken serious as well.