Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) presents as a slight memory deterioration or thought process decline, which surpasses normal aging expectations but isn’t as advanced as Alzheimer’s disease. While the symptoms of MCI may seem mild, they are noticeable, both to the person experiencing it as well as those closest to the patient. Additionally, signs of MCI can be detected on various medical tests and measurements. Still, doctors and practitioners don’t categorize Mild Cognitive Impairment as dementia as most people experiencing this condition still function independently without major disruption to their daily routines.
Common Causes Of MCI
While much is still unknown about what causes MCI, there is evidence that supports that Mild Cognitive Impairment presents much like brain damage often associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Some common cognitive changes that can trigger MCI include:
- Decreased blood flow to the brain
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- Brain damaged caused by strokes
- Decline in memory-specific brain regions
- Lowered use of glucose thought-processing brain regions
- Expanding, fluid-filled ventricles
A medical evaluation is the best way to determine if your symptoms are indicative of MCI. Your physician will perform a battery of tests and assess seven core areas before making a diagnosis:
- Family medical history
- Your ability to function independently
- Mood and behavior evaluation to eliminate other possible conditions
- Blood tests
- Mental status tests
- Neurological exam
- Brain imaging tests
Treatment Approach For Managing Mild Cognitive Impairment
Currently, there are no medications approved for treating MCI. However, many physicians and practitioners believe that modifying certain habits and implementing various lifestyle changes can have a direct impact on the pace and progression of the disease. Some recommended treatment suggestions include:
Recent studies indicate that consistent exercise not only enhances our physical performance but can also improve our cognitive abilities as well. According to reports, aerobic exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus, the brain area that helps with verbal memory and learning.
Studies and assessments also suggest that what you eat plays an important role in your brain function. A recent survey of over 4,000 participants indicates that a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins appears to be directly related to a larger total brain volume. Eliminating processed foods and piling up on healthful meals can help keep your brain working at maximum capacity.
Finally, being socially active can have a significant influence on your brain activities. Loneliness and isolation can increase brain function decline, making it vital to maintain a steady social calendar. Communicating with others and having fun can reduce stress and release critical endorphins that help you maintain a positive outlook on your condition, all while possibly slowing down its progression.
If you’re worried about MCI, our team of certified chiropractic neurologists can help. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.