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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Mild Cognitive Impairment is not Dementia

In today’s “market” dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is addressed in most healthcare budgets and their subsequent conversations.  But there is another which warrant discussion – Mild Cognitive Impairment (or MCI as it is abbreviated). 

How does MCI fit into the healthcare system and budget?

What do we need to know about it?

For years Dementia and Alzheimer’s has been the most common form of dementia and nearly everyone has heard of them but so little is known or discussed about MCI.

What is Dementia?
Today, we need to take a step back and review the definition of dementia to understand where mild cognitive impairment fits in. Dementia is thought to be a syndrome or group of symptoms that show impairments in areas such as cognitive skills (memory, speech, thinking), functional abilities (daily activities such as dressing, eating, walking) and in mood and behavior.

In the simplest terms, dementia is caused by brain cells in key areas dying off.

Some researchers actually feel that there are over 70 different types of dementia.

The reason we hear Alzheimer's disease and the term dementia often used interchangeably is because Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia.

Some of the common symptoms of dementia are:
·         Language problems
·         Judgment and abstract thinking issues
·         Personality or behaviour changes
·         Memory loss or impairment
·         Disorientation to time or place

Dementia is a progressive disease that interferes with daily activities and quality of life.

Often the disruption to one area of an individual's life is what brings the disease to the forefront. At this time, there is no cure but medications are on the market that claims to stop some of the further development of the disease.

Research continues but there is much that is unknown about dementia.

What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment?
Mild cognitive impairment is not dementia. It is defined as a noted problem with cognition or brain processing that is unusual for a person's age or education.

If you recall from the dementia definition, there were issues seen in a number of areas of brain functioning--with MCI, it is only cognitive functioning that is impaired.

The other major difference between MCI and dementia is that any of the symptoms that are seen in mild cognitive impairment do not cause any interference with the person's daily level of activities. We know that once dementia symptoms have been seen, there are quality of life disruptions already in place.

MCI matches dementia in the fact that the cause of the syndrome is also unknown yet the medical community feels that it could be triggered by stress or illness.

Some physicians and researchers feel that MCI can be viewed as a defining line between regular aging and dementia.

In fact, some studies point to the fact that approximately 10-15 percent of all MCI cases seem to develop into some form of dementia.

Knowing the relationship that could link mild cognitive impairment with dementia makes this an important topic to follow in the future.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has some cognitive concerns that are more than just the usual forgetfulness we all experience, take the time to have it checked out.
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