Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Foundation of America

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition in which people have more memory or other thinking problems than normal for their age, but whose symptoms do not interfere with their everyday lives (National Institute on Aging, 2017). Not all persons with MCI will develop dementia; however, according to the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, approximately 65% of individuals living with MCI later develop dementia in their lifetime.

The problems associated with MCI may also be caused by certain medications, cerebrovascular disease (which affects blood vessels that supply the brain), and other factors. Some of the problems brought on by these conditions can be managed or reversed.

What Can MCI Look Like?

  • Changes in skills and abilities that exceed what can occur with normal aging
    • Frequently losing train of thought
    • Difficulty remembering scheduled appointments and/or events
    • Challenges with directions to familiar locations

Unlike dementia, changes due to MCI do not significantly interfere with abilities to complete tasks associated with daily living.

Additional factors that can contribute to MCI include:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Stroke
  • Fatigue
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Thyroid imbalances
  • Chemotherapy
  • Depressed mood, anxiety and stress

Keep in mind that while it does not meet the criteria for dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is not a normal part of aging, and does impact one’s thinking abilities. Consult your doctor if you notice changes in thinking and memory to determine a plan of care.