Facts about mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease
MCI causes a slight but noticeable and measurable decline in cognitive abilities, including memory and thinking skills.
A person with MCI has an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and take care of themselves.
Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of 8 years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
Ninety percent of what we know about Alzheimer’s has been discovered in the last 15 years. Some of the most remarkable progress has shed light on how Alzheimer’s affects the brain. The hope is this better understanding will lead to new treatments in the future. Many potential approaches to treatment are currently under investigation worldwide.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, you are not alone.