Everything about mild cognitive impairment can seem hard. God knows, it’s hard to live with. But when you get down to it, it can be a hard thing to even understand, or explain.
So today, I’m going to try to break it down for you in a way that makes sense.
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment, and author of the book, “I Want My Mind Back: The Go Cogno Approach to Halt or Reverse Mild Cognitive Impairment.”
I’ve been looking for a simple way to help people grasp the concept of MCI.
If someone says the word Alzheimer’s to you, you know what that means. You’ve heard of it.
But mild cognitive impairment, most people who get that diagnosis, it’s the first time they’ve ever those words.
So I’ve been looking for a simple way to help people grasp the concept of MCI. And here’s how I would explain it.
Think of MCI the way you would think of having a fever.
A fever is simple to understand. Your normal body temperature is 98. If you have a temperature of 101, or 103, something is wrong. You temperature is outside the norm.
Really, that’s what MCI is. It’s the way that doctors tell you, we tested your cognition, and what we found is something that’s outside the norm.
Of course, they don’t use a thermometer for that. To begin, they may use a test like the MMSE or the MoCA. And for example, on the MoCA, a score below 26 might suggest – key word, suggest – some degree of cognitive impairment. Much more evaluation and testing would have to be done before an accurate diagnosis of MCI is made.
But if that’s your diagnosis, please understand, MCI is not a form of dementia, and it’s not even a disease in and off itself.
You don’t treat MCI. You figure out what’s causing your MCI, and you treat that.
If you have a fever, the fever isn’t what’s wrong with you. Something is causing that fever, and that’s what you and your doctor want to figure out, so that it can be treated and you can bring that fever down.
Many things can cause a fever. It could be an infection. It could be a blood clot. It could be COVID.
It’s the same with your cognition. You have MCI, but something is causing that. And there are many causes of MCI.
It could be a vitamin deficiency, or a thyroid condition, or a reaction to medication, or high blood pressure, or stress or anxiety, or an underlying condition such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
So people would ask, how do I treat MCI? Here’s what I would say. You don’t treat MCI. You figure out what’s causing it, and you treat that.
With the right doctor, and the right diagnosis, you have a legitimate chance to slow, halt or perhaps even potentially reverse your MCI. That’s what I what for you, to understand it, and go after it, aggressively.
I’ll be back next week to talk more about ways you can defend your cognition. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.