Cognitive Decline

Cognition is our ability to perceive, remember, analyze, problem-solve, and comprehend through our senses and  life experiences. Essentially, cognition refers to how we use our minds in everyday life. These abilities diminish as we age, which is known as cognitive decline.

In some cases, cognitive decline can lead to mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, which is impairment beyond normal cognitive decline but not quite dementia. It can also be an early indicator of more serious cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.

Even at an age you wouldn’t consider old, you may start to notice that it’s harder to learn new things or remember what you need to remember. Your doctor may tell you that this is a normal part of the aging process, or if it seems premature, you may be sent for testing.

People may address mild cognitive decline or attempt to prevent it using targeted supplements and lifestyle changes.

Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD)

As cognition begins to decline, an individual may notice increased instances of confusion or memory loss. Self-reported cases of these symptoms are typically referred to as subjective cognitive decline, or SCD.[1]https://www.cdc.gov/aging/data/subjective-cognitive-decline-brief.html SCD is not a formal diagnosis from a medical professional, but it can lead to an official diagnosis after an evaluation. SCD refers to confusion or memory loss that is increasing in frequency or worsening over the course of approximately 12 months.

Mild Cognitive Impairment

MCI symptoms are not nearly as severe as those associated with dementia, but they can still be cause for concern.[2]https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-mild-cognitive-impairment Mild cognitive impairment typically manifests as forgetfulness, such as losing things and missing scheduled commitments.

Individuals with MCI may also struggle harder than others their age to come up with certain words, have some difficulty with movement, or experience problems with their sense of smell.