Some forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. However, some people have more memory problems than other people their age. This condition is called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. People with MCI can take care of themselves and do their normal activities.
MCI memory problems may include
- Losing things often
- Forgetting to go to events and appointments
- Having more trouble coming up with words than other people of the same age
Memory problems can also have other causes, including certain medicines and diseases that affect the blood vessels that supply the brain. Some of the problems brought on by these conditions can be managed or reversed.
Your health care provider can do thinking, memory, and language tests to see if you have MCI. You may also need to see a specialist for more tests. Because MCI may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease, it's really important to see your health care provider every 6 to 12 months.
At this time, there is no proven drug treatment for MCI. Your health care provider can check to see if you have any changes in your memory or thinking skills over time.
NIH: National Institute on Aging
- Memory and Thinking: What's Normal and What's Not? (National Institute on Aging)
- Mild Cognitive Impairment (Alzheimer's Association)
- Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- What is Mild Cognitive Impairment? (National Institute on Aging)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Cognitive Testing (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Screening for Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) - PDF
- Cognitive Health and Older Adults (National Institute on Aging)
- Folic Acid Supplements: Can They Slow Cognitive Decline? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- How the Aging Brain Affects Thinking (National Institute on Aging)
- Noticing Memory Problems? What to Do Next? (National Institute on Aging)
Statistics and Research
- Mild Cognitive Impairment and Progession to Dementia: New Findings (American Academy of Neurology) - PDF
- Scam Susceptibility May Signal Risk for Cognitive Decline (National Institute on Aging)
- Setting Goals to be More Active Slows Memory Decline in Older African Americans (National Institute on Aging)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Mild Cognitive Impairment (National Institutes of Health)