Ask Away Blog: What to Know About Brain Fog

What to Know About Brain Fog

Monday, January 18, 2021

 

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So many women and moms, in particular, experience brain fog on a regular basis. There are a lot of different reasons you may have brain fog.

In some cases, the reason for brain fog can be easily traced back to a particular situation. For example, following a car accident, you may have brain fog stemming from a brain injury, including a mild one.

In other cases, brain fog is a side effect of something like a medication. Another reason for brain fog is often an underlying health condition, which can be mental or physical.

Brain fog can affect how you parent, your career, and your relationships. Getting to the source can help you overcome some of the adverse effects it might have on your life.

The following are some of the things to know.


What is Brain Fog?


Brain fog is actually a general term, and it’s not a condition in and of itself. Rather, it’s cognitive dysfunction that tends to be a symptom of other conditions. Brain fog can include a general lack of mental clarity, problems with focus and concentration, and also memory problems.
 
Common Causes

There are many causes of brain fog, some of which were touched on above. For women, and particularly mothers, the most common reasons might include:

· Stress: When you experience stress, particularly chronic stress, it can cause mental fatigue as well as a host of other symptoms and side effects. When your brain is tired, it’s more challenging to think and focus. Stress can also trigger other mental health conditions, such as depression.

· Lack of sleep: Not getting enough sleep can make not just your body but also your brain tired. Even if you think you get enough sleep, if it’s not quality sleep, it may be difficult to focus.

· Hormones: When you’re pregnant, there are changes in progesterone and estrogen that can lead to brain fog. Also, if you’re going through menopause, you may have symptoms of brain fog because of declines in estrogen.

· Diet: Having a diet high in processed foods, dairy, or foods that perhaps you’re sensitive to can lead to brain fog. Deficiencies in certain vitamins, such as B12, can also trigger brain fog.

· Medicine side effects: Some medicines and also chemo treatment may lead to brain fog. If you think medicine is leading you to have brain fog, talk to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe another medicine or change your dosage.

· Medical conditions: Medical conditions that are associated with chronic inflammation can cause brain fog. Other conditions associated with brain fog include autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, anemia, depression, diabetes, and migraines.

· Obstructive sleep apnea: When you have this condition, you might stop breathing while you’re sleeping, periodically. If you frequently feel sleepy during the day or you snore loudly, it could mean you have obstructive sleep apnea.
 
Diagnosing Brain Fog

The concept of diagnosing brain fog can be tricky. Again, it’s not a condition in and of itself. Rather, it’s symptomatic of another condition. If you think brain fog is something you’re dealing with, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

Keep a journal of other symptoms you may experience as well because that might then help your doctor make a diagnosis more easily of an underlying condition like hypothyroidism.

Blood work can also point to an issue that could lead to brain fog. For example, if your glucose levels aren’t normal or your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can show up in blood work.

Along with keeping a journal of symptoms, also think about having a journal of foods and drinks you consume to see if these could be triggering it.
 
Treating Brain Fog

The only way to ultimately treat brain fog is to eliminate or treat the underlying cause.

You can also make changes in your lifestyle that might help you combat brain fog.

For example, eating a healthy, balanced diet without much processed foods can go a long way in helping with brain fog. The Mediterranean diet is one that has been explored as a way to help improve cognitive function. The Mediterranean diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and moderate amounts of poultry, with limited red meat.

Exercising more frequently can also help with brain fog. You should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. That will help you sleep better, improve your mental health, and it will also allow more blood to flow to your brain. Aerobic exercise is especially good to improve cognition.




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