Will everyone with MCI develop dementia?
Studies suggest that between 5 and 20% of people will have MCI of some form in their older ages. These findings are important because people who have MCI are at an increased risk of going on to develop dementia. MCI still represents a significantly increased level of risk of dementia – about 3 to 5 times the risk of someone without MCI. Although MCI significantly increases someone's risk of developing dementia, not everyone with MCI will get worse and develop the disease.
Patients with MCI may go on to develop dementia
Many MCI patients will go on to develop dementia. There are many support options in the early stages of the illness. Researchers have tried to identify people with MCI who will progress to develop Alzheimer's disease by using different types of scans, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is not yet possible to predict with certainty whether a person with the memory loss type of MCI will develop Alzheimer's disease. Early diagnosis and treatment is the best course of action at this time.
What are the benefits of diagnosing MCI?
The main benefit of diagnosing MCI is that it helps to identify people who are at increased risk of developing dementia. If you (or a loved one) is diagnosed with MCI you should schedule an appointment for a detailed assessment and monitoring. Many people with MCI will develop dementia, the early diagnosis leads to earlier access to treatment, advice and support.
Minimizing the risk of MCI and Dementia?
Many studies have shown that age is a major risk factor for both MCI and dementia. Genes play an important role as well, most clearly for Alzheimer's disease and fronto-temporal dementia. Several aspects of health and lifestyle can influence the progression into MCI.
Medical conditions such as depression, diabetes and high blood pressure from middle age onwards are all clearly linked to a raised risk of developing dementia. Smoking, drinking too much, raised cholesterol levels and obesity also all raise the risk of dementia.
Reduce your risk of MCI and Dementia by not smoking, eating a healthy diet and participating in regular exercise. Exercising the mind as well as the body can also help reduce the risk of MCI and dementia. Intellectually stimulating leisure activities such as card games or crossword puzzles in mid-life can help prevent or delay the onset of dementia.