What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment and Why is it Under-Diagnosed?

What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment and Why is it Under-Diagnosed?

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) sits in the gray area between normal aging and more serious cognitive decline. 

MCI is a cognitive condition characterized by a decline in memory and thinking that is greater than expected for a person's age but not severe enough to interfere significantly with daily life. 

People with MCI may experience forgetfulness, difficulty finding words, trouble with decision-making, and other cognitive challenges. 

While MCI can sometimes progress to dementia, it doesn't always do so, and some people with MCI remain stable or even improve over time.

Why Is it Important to Diagnose Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Early diagnosis allows for interventions and treatments to be initiated promptly, potentially slowing down or even halting further cognitive decline. 

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Secondly, it provides people and their families with an opportunity to plan for the future, make informed decisions about care options, and access support services. 

Diagnosing MCI accurately can alleviate anxiety and uncertainty, empowering individuals to take proactive steps to manage their cognitive health.

Why is MCI Rarely Diagnosed?

Despite its significance, mild cognitive impairment is often under- or misdiagnosed. 

There’s a common misconception that cognitive decline is a normal part of aging, and MCI risk increases with age. The subtlety of these symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for normal, age-related changes. 

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Mild cognitive impairment is also much trickier to diagnose than diseases like Alzheimer's. Many people living with MCI can get by with their day-to-day activities without major difficulty. 

Additionally, individuals with MCI may not seek medical attention for their symptoms or may attribute them to other causes, further complicating diagnosis.

How Can Partnering With a Concierge Physician Help Diagnose MCI?

Concierge physicians are uniquely positioned to improve the diagnosis of MCI through personalized, comprehensive care. 

With longer appointment times and one-on-one interactions, concierge physicians can offer thorough cognitive assessments and screenings, allowing for the detection of subtle cognitive changes that may indicate MCI. 

Concierge medicine emphasizes preventive care, meaning concierge physicians are more likely to discuss cognitive health with their patients and proactively screen for MCI, even in the absence of overt symptoms.

Another advantage for concierge physicians is smaller patient panels. This allows for more time and attention to be devoted to each patient. 

Having the time to address each concern with each patient enables concierge physicians to gain a deeper understanding of their medical history and risk factors and monitor changes in cognitive function over time more effectively. 

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Additionally, concierge physicians often have access to a network of specialists and resources, allowing for comprehensive evaluation of cognitive health concerns.

Get in Contact With a CCPHP Concierge Physician 

Concierge physicians can play an important role in diagnosing and managing MCI by providing personalized, comprehensive care and offering proactive support and interventions. To experience healthcare with same or next-day appointments and little to no wait times, connect with a physician near you.

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