Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) Overview


  • There is a noticeable but mild decline in memory or thinking skills.
  • The changes are noticeable to the person or the family but do not affect day-to-day living.
  • MCI increases the risk for developing Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
  • 15-20% of people over the age of 65 have MCI.
  • People with MCI may improve, stay the same, or have progression of symptoms over time.
  • MCI affects men more often than women.


  • Increased forgetfulness
  • Difficulty remembering things that were previously easily recalled
  • Forgetting appointments or scheduled events
  • Frequently losing train of thought during conversations, while reading, or when watching TV
  • Feeling overwhelmed when attempting to make plans or decisions
  • Having trouble navigating familiar locations
  • Being impulsive or showing poor judgement
  • Trouble planning steps to accomplish a task
  • Difficulty understanding instructions


  • Advanced age
  • Family history of MCI or dementia
  • History of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, or heart disease
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of participation in mentally or socially stimulating activities


  • Medication
  • Infections
  • Vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition
  • Thyroid disease
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Substance and/or alcohol abuse
  • Hearing loss


  • Thorough review and assessment of medical history and medications, observations during the
    appointment, and interviews with family or close friends
  • Physical and neurological exam, including memory test and depression screen
  • Lab studies, including blood count and glucose, thyroid, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D levels


  • Medications may be used to treat mild memory loss.
  • Mental stimulation is recommended through new socializations, starting or expanding
    hobbies, doing puzzles, and reading fiction.
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle with exercise, the Mediterranean diet, and adequate hydration is
  • Vitamin replacement may be recommended.
  • Limit alcohol intake and stop smoking.
  • Correct hearing if there is a deficit.
  • The treatment of underlying anxiety or depression may help improve symptoms of MCI.