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.
Chronic inflammation is a key factor here. Inflammation is a root cause of MCI, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, among others. There are articles here 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
- Amyloid plaques (normally occurring proteins in the brain that start ‘clogging’) from chronic inflammation
- 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..
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.
Related Article: The Top 10 Brain Supplements
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.
Well that’s pretty vague, isn’t it?
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 at the above link you can do. It’s a Neurotransmitter Panel (urine). 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 isn’t a defined medical treatment of mild cognitive impairment, except to address deficiencies and create healthier habits through natural means. But there are some things you can do to even reverse MCI. The cause of many diseases in h