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Friday, February 16, 2018

Brain Fog: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

We all know that feeling; We try to talk to others and cannot find the words. We forget the words we want to say, or know the words we want to say but cannot seem to spit them out. We forget activities and memories. We forget what we need to do unless we write it down. It is VERY frustrating to everyone involved.



Source: Imgur



My husband will get very frustrated with me, because unless I religiously write things down, I forget things all of the time. He has a trip he's going on for work next week, actually, and I forgot the conversation we had about it when he told me he was going. Now, I write in my Gastroparesis Journal constantly and I use my Google Calendar to remind myself of appointments, when my husband has work out of town, birthdays, and everything that's important to me. I love Google Calendar because they will send you reminders like text messages, emails, and popups.

I have to make lists of things I need to do that day. My memory used to be amazing, but since I was officially diagnosed with Gastroparesis, my memory is NOT what it used to be. I could remember dates without issue, remember to go to the pharmacy, and that kind of thing. Now, it is like I have no short term memory and my long term memory seems blocked, most of the time. I cannot even tell you all of what I posted on Facebook yesterday, for instance.

I wanted to research into what causes memory loss, which I call "GP Brain," others call it "Brain Fog," and if there is any hope of reversal. I do know that I need to recognize my limitations, now that I have it, and try to adjust accordingly. I ask others to be patient with me and explain my situation a little bit to them. I carry notebooks and my journal in my purse. And, like I said, I use Google Calendar. It is hard to adjust when you had an excellent memory before, but life is about adjustments and it isn't always fair. You need to find what works for you.




Source: http://edoriumjournals.com/blog/brain-fog-get-rid/ They state, "When it comes to the brain, the urgency and importance of the issue increases manifold because life productivity takes a serious hit if the brain isn’t functioning at its optimal best. A muddled sensation though normal at occasional times, chronic forgetfulness or mental slowness is not and therefore, one should not take brain fog lightly at all."





What Is Brain Fog?


According to the Edorium Journal, they describe these issues at the cause for Brain Fog:

"With the progression of age the deterioration of memory is the norm, a part of the natural process of life. However, the slow fading of memory is sometimes aggravated in the prime of life and even young people at times, experience clouded feelings and momentary lapses in thinking. This phenomenon is commonly known as brain fog or brain fatigue. However, this is not a mental disorder or a medical condition in any sense rather it is a term to explain certain symptoms that can affect a person’s ability to think clearly.

Whenever someone experiences forgetfulness, feels utterly confused while tying up thoughts, or has disorganized thinking, or has inability to focus or is hard pressed to put their thoughts into words, they are experiencing brain fog. This fatigue of the brain can be caused or exacerbated by certain conditions or situations. An understanding of the common triggers that cause brain fog is necessary to avoid its occurrences as well as to maintain good health practices. A clear-thinking and healthy brain is the pre-requisite to a healthy living.

Whenever someone experiences forgetfulness, feels utterly confused while tying up thoughts, or has disorganized thinking, or has inability to focus or is hard pressed to put their thoughts into words, they are experiencing brain fog. This fatigue of the brain can be caused or exacerbated by certain conditions or situations. An understanding of the common triggers that cause brain fog is necessary to avoid its occurrences as well as to maintain good health practices. A clear-thinking and healthy brain is the pre-requisite to a healthy living."




Source: Imgur



What Are The Symptoms of Brain Fog?


Additionally, according to Edorium Journal,

"This mental fog or cognitive dysfunction as it is also known shows a number of symptoms.

1. low energy or tiredness, including chronic fatigue syndrome,

2. irritability due to inability in concentration,

3. poor working memory causing hindrance in executive functions,

4. decreased ability in memorizing or remembering things,

5. impaired or delayed information processing ability,

6. dwindling motivation due to mental confusion, etc."




Source: Located at the bottom of image.




These indicators point towards the clouding of consciousness whereby an inflammation of the brain due to certain underlying causes prohibits us from enjoying the benefits of a fully-functional brain. If these causes are ascertained then the affects of brain fog are reversible. The most important and also the most common causes of brain fog can be enumerated as the following:


1. A lot of women find it difficult to remember things or process information swiftly during pregnancy. Carrying and nurturing a baby changes the body in a lot of ways and certain chemicals, hormones, etc released during this period to nourish the baby may bring on problems associated with memory.

2. Poor diet is a major reason affecting the brain and there are certain food elements that are not brain-healthy and we should be aware of these. [See my article on Malnutrition here and what it can do to the body: http://www.emilysstomach.com/2013/06/information-about-malnutrition.html]

3. Eating for a healthy functioning brain is simple and should principally consist in avoiding excess sugar and extra calories. Also, half of your daily food intake should ideally include fruits and vegetables. Nutritional deficiencies such as, Vitamin B12 deficiency lower brain functioning ability. [See my article on Vitamin Deficiencies and what they can do here: http://www.emilysstomach.com/2013/06/the-impact-of-vitamin-deficiencies.html]

4. Neurological and vascular problems such as caused by diseases like, Multiple Sclerosis.

5. Medication induced after-effects and side-effects such as cancer treatment related or anti-cholinergic drugs, etc.

6. Autoimmune, infectious, psychiatric illnesses also debilitate brain performance.

7. Lifestyle factors including sleep disorders, alcohol abuse, depression, etc."




Source: Imgur





How Do You Cope With Brain Fog?

Like I said before, I carry around a GP Journal I write things in, I also have a smaller notepad to write things down, and I use Google Calendar. Everyone is different, so you will have to find a method that works for you. I will try to list as many ideas as I can to help.

Molly's Fund has wonderful ideas below on how to cope with Brain Fog.

Source: http://www.mollysfund.org

Edorium Journal suggests doing these things to cope with Brain Fog,

"Now that the causes are known, actionable steps to combat brain fog can be clearly undertaken. In case of diseases, symptomatic treatments and other alternative steps to naturally prevent the progression of disease can assist in preventing brain fog. Also, an overall strategy for a healthy brain should leverage diet, exercise, food and supplements together. There are a number of things that can be done to improve brain power even socialization helps in sharpening the intellect.

Although at times people experiencing brain fog are too depressed and poorly motivated to initiate changes or take up improvement steps. In such cases, first comes a proper sleep. Proper and plenty of sleep gives the brain time to clean up residual debris of the thinking day, consolidate the memories of the day and create new brain cells to replace the ones lost during the day. Thus, boosting cognitive function and performance, brain hormonal balance and resulting in a rested person. It’s not just a proverb when they say, you should sleep on it.

Lastly, exercise to release endorphins and eliminate the free radicals, and meditate to relieve stress. These gems should help you banish brain fog effectively."

"The Mighty," suggests seventeen phone applications that can help you with Brain Fog here: https://themighty.com/2017/08/apps-brain-fog-organization/.


Here are some natural treatments regarding Brain Fog,



The source and for more natural treatments on how to help Brain Fog, can be found here: https://draxe.com/brain-fog/.



And finally, if you have an invisible illness, some of these treatments for Brain Fog might be similar to the ones above but I wanted to share it anyway. This is from "Fibromyalgia News Today" and they recommend this: https://fibromyalgianewstoday.com/2017/05/25/9-ways-manage-brain-fog/.




Source: Imgur





In Conclusion:


I know that with an invisible illness, like Gastroparesis, it's really hard for us to eat as some of these helpful hints suggest. I would recommend talking with your doctor about Brain Fog, because we are all different. What works for someone else may not work for me. I have to come up with a mixture of suggestions that might work for me, personally. I usually write out questions for the doctor before I go, so I don't forget anything. I make notes as he talks to me as well. Also, I put a magnetic shopping list on the fridge so that my household can write stuff down as we use it, instead of making a list from scratch when we need to go to the store. That helps me so much and takes the pressure off of any of us if we did it as a mass list, because we would all forget things.

I hope this article will help you understand Brain Fog a bit better. It's frustrating to go through and hard to deal with, but it is something that can be dealt with. If you battle Brain Fog, just know that you are NOT alone. Just stay strong and keep your chin up. I will try to update this article as I learn more, so that you can keep updated on new treatments, symptoms, or any changes.

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