It is very normal as people get older to have some decline in cognition. Into their 40s, 50s, and 60’s it is common to forget what you were walking down the hall to do, struggle to remember a name or forget an appointment on occasion. This is what is referred to as normal age-related cognitive decline. At the other extreme most people are familiar with dementia and Alzheimer’s which is a very debilitating loss of memory and results in confusion and loss of new memories. Between these two points is what is known as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
Mild cognitive impairment often manifests with mild and intermittent struggles with memory, language, judgment, and decision-making. Most people have an awareness that they are “slipping” and experience frustration and some anxiety about something more serious evolving. Although occasionally problematic, for the most part, it does not impact daily living.
What are the Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment?
- Noticeably more forgetful relative to peers
- Derailing train of thought
- Struggling to follow conversation or the plot of a movie or book
- Forgetting appointments or social events
- Difficulty sequencing steps to do a task
- Greater impulsivity and poor judgment
- Trouble finding way around familiar environments and places
Are there Risk Factors for Mild Cognitive Impairment?
- Aging – the older people get, the more at risk they could be
- Being overweight
- High cholesterol or high blood pressure
- Little mental or social stimulation
- Low exercise
- Lower education
- Certain gene markers (APOE e4) linked to cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s
- Note: 10-15% of people with MCI end up developing dementia
How Do You Prevent Mild Cognitive Impairment?
There are no guaranteed ways to prevent MCI and some are simply genetically predisposed to it. That said, there are environmental things people can do to tip the scales in your favor.
- Regular exercise
- Don’t smoke
- Avoid excess alcohol use
- Avoid head injuries
- Treat medical conditions appropriately (Diabetes, Depression, etc.)
- Good sleep habits and quantity of sleep
- A healthy diet with good nutrition
- Stimulating social life
- Mental stimulation – reading, puzzles, games
Maple Grove Psychiatrists
If you want help assessing your lifestyle and treating your issues, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an individual consultation with one of our providers so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.
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