Some people have memory loss but do not have
dementia. They have what is known as mild cognitive
impairment, a middle ground between normal aging and dementia. People with this
condition are at risk for developing dementia; but not all people with
mild cognitive impairment will progress to dementia.
People with mild cognitive impairment often know that they have lost
memory, and tests can confirm some loss. But they have normal overall mental
functioning and can carry out normal activities of daily living.
The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease often come on gradually. They then typically progress over several years to the point of causing major impairment.
Alzheimer's can be divided into mild, moderate, or severe stages. Each stage has a separate set of symptoms. But symptoms can vary from person to person. And the length of each stage can also vary.
Doctors should evaluate people with memory loss, and those with mild
cognitive impairment should be monitored because of their risk for developing
dementia. Several studies are being done to see whether medicine can delay dementia in people who have mild cognitive impairment.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Peter J. Whitehouse, MD - Neurology
June 23, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 23, 2011
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