This is a common condition affecting perhaps up to one in five people over the age of 65. It is distinct from both dementia and normal ageing. It is characterised by a problem with memory (amnestic MCI) or another cognitive ability (non-amnestic MCI) that is more than that you'd expect for someone your age - as measured through cognitive tests. Unlike dementia, it does not generally affect your ability to carry out your usual day to day tasks.
Having MCI is a reason to be alert but not alarmed. It is a risk factor for dementia - about one in ten people with MCI go on to develop dementia each year - but it does not inevitably lead on to dementia. Sometimes the cognitive problems get no worse over time and sometimes they even improve. If you have MCI, it is particularly important to lead a healthy life to try and reduce your chance of it evolving into dementia. Physical exercise is important, as is a healthy diet. Looking after your mental health and prioritising your sleep can also help. And using your brain for so called complex mental activity (anything that taxes the brain a bit) may also help.