Lost your keys? Forgot that appointment with a client? Forgot that doctor’s appointment? Some people develop a condition called Mild Cognitive Impairment, usually as a consequence of getting older. We’ll get into the definition of mild cognitive impairment and what you can do about.
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is simply experiencing more memory problems than normal for people of the same age, but not as severe as those with Alzheimer’s disease. Family and friends might notice a little bit of a decline in memory and one might worry about losing his or her memory.
People diagnosed with MCI might have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia but not all end up developing those diseases. This is good news and very encouraging!
This means there might be things we can do to deter further development of MCI into worse problems. The definition of mild cognitive impairment doesn’t include the word ‘incurable’. I invite you to read on for more information and ways you might be able to help this condition or even prevent it…
Causes of MCI
According to Mayo Clinic, there’s no single cause of mild cognitive impairment and there’s no single outcome either. Symptoms can remain stable for years, they could progress into Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, but it could IMPROVE over time. People with MCI are usually able to carry on with their lives and function normally, it’s just harder. Chronicis a key factor here. Inflammation is a root cause of MCI, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, among others. I’ll be writing an article just on inflammation because it’s so important and the causes and effects are far-reaching.
Some of the changes in the brains of people with MCI they’ve identified are
- normally occurring proteins in the brain that start ‘clogging’) from chronic inflammation plaques (
- Lewy bodies, microscopic clumps of another protein associated with Parkinson’s disease and sometimes with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Small strokes or reduced blood flow through brain blood vessels.
There are natural ways to help these, especially Amyloid plaques. Keep reading..
Test your Brain Chemistry now to see what you’re missing!
Symptoms of MCI
Here are some possible symptoms that could indicate mild cognitive impairment:
From Mayo Clinic (2018):
- Losing things often
- Forgetting to go to events or appointments
- Having more trouble coming up with words than other people of the same age
- Some people might experience movement difficulties or problems with their sense of smell.
- Lose train of thought or the thread of conversations, books or movies.
- Family and friends notice any of these changes.
MCI can cause depression, irritability, anxiety and apathy although these don’t mean you have it. However, they are more of a complication of it.
Risk Factors of MCI
The biggest risk factors for mild cognitive impairment are (Mayo Clinic, 2018):
- Increasing age and
- Have a specific form of a gene known as APOE-4, also linked to Alzheimer’s, although not all with this gene will get MCI or Alzheimer’s.
Other risk factors:
- High blood pressure
- Elevated cholesterol
- Lack of physical exercise
- Low education
- Infrequent participation in mentally or socially stimulating activities
Research has shown there might be a genetic factor for people in general but they still aren’t sure why some people progress to Alzheimer’s and others don’t.
The good news is we can do something about some of the ‘Other risk factors’.
Diagnosis of MCI
Well, a doctor can do memory, thinking and language tests or they can do some imaging. The doctor can tell you whether it’s Likely your symptoms are consistent with MCI. You can see a neurologist to measure your reflexes, eye movements, and walking and balance and see how healthy your nervous system is.
There isn’t a specific test or blood test that says that you definitely have Minor Cognitive Impairment. The truth is, it’s caused by multiple factors and possible deficiencies in nutrients.
But you definitely need them to check on other conditions that might be causing brain and memory issues. Do check in with your doctor to see if there’s something else you need to address like thryoid, parathyroid and other things.
There is an at-home test above for general brain chemistry testing. It doesn’t diagnose MCI specifically but it’s worth doing to address any deficiencies you have or problems you could have in the future!
Treatment and Prevention of MCI
There is currently no medical treatment of mild cognitive impairment, except to address deficiencies and create healthier habits through natural means. The cause of many diseases in humans is inflammation in the body. We need to reduce the inflammation to stay and get healthy.
You now have a better understanding of the definition of mild cognitive impairment. Just know there are Many resources and lots of information about supplements and lifestyle ideas here on Mywellbrain. So if you or a loved one are experiencing any memory, brain function or just forgetfulness issues, please share this info with them or on your social media or bookmark this site. 🙂
Supplements: A growing list of supplements shown to help brain function and inflammation.
Diet: Best diet for brain function.
Exercise: Easy ways to put exercise in your routine.
Get organized: Use planners and calendars to remind yourself of important events and appointments.
Rest: Get good sleep. Tips here for getting to sleep easier and setting your internal clock.
Natural Ways to Help Memory: Easy and natural ways to improve brain function and memory.
Read books like The End of Alzheimer’s. Don’t let the name scare you. It’s got tons of information on Dale Bredesen M.D.’s 30 years of research on curing the brain. It’s a great read and includes his plan for cognitive decline reversal. I get a lot of my information from his work.
Pamper Yourself: Care for yourself. There is a program the American Cancer Society sponsors called, Look Good, Feel Better for female cancer patients. I think the term fits here as well. If you take care of your appearance and your emotions, you’ll feel better about yourself and feel like going out and being more active.
Maybe someday they’ll create some medications for this issue. But really, it’s a very individual thing. It is unlikely there will be one medication for all. What you are low on or lifestyle or disease states you have are yours and yours alone. So really, if it can be helped or solved by natural means, we’d prefer that right?
As always, if you have any comments, advice or experience with mild cognitive impairment and would like to get in on the conversation, please leave your input below.
Thank you for visiting and come back often for updates and news! You can also subscribe to my newsletter. I won’t spam you, promise.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI).[Mayo Clinic Staff]. (2018). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mild-cognitive-impairment/symptoms-causes/syc-20354578
Setting goals to be more active slows memory decline in older African Americans. (2018). https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/setting-goals-be-more-active-slows-memory-decline-older-african-americans
What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment? National Institute on Aging, US Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved 7/21/2019 from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-mild-cognitive-impairment