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Medical causes and solutions for brain fog

Medical causes and solutions for brain fog
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Brain fog is an extremely common symptom of many types of medical issues. Sometimes it’s a result of the underlying condition; other times, it stems from treatment, says Dr Kaiser.

Feeling stressed? Here are some symptoms you didn’t know were linked to stress.

Medications

Medications
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Many common medications, particularly sleeping pills and meds used to treat mental illnesses, can cause your brain to feel fuzzy or unclear.

If you’ve recently started a new medication or changed the dose, that may be the cause of your problem.

Always tell your doctor about all of the medications you take – that goes for both prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes
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An inability to concentrate and mental fuzziness are signs of both menopause and andropause, says Hafeez.

Hormonal changes in your body directly affect your brain and its ability to function, particularly in women.

“Oestrogen levels contribute to memory and other brain processes, and when oestrogen levels lessen, occasional lapses in the brain can occur,” she says.

This also explains “pregnancy brain,” the type of brain fog that gestating women often experience.

Here are some questions about menopause you’ve been too embarrassed to ask.

Mental illness

Mental illness
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It’s no surprise that illnesses that affect the mind, including anxiety, depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can cause mental cloudiness.

It’s especially important to get evaluated by a mental health professional if you have a family history of mental illness or have had a big change in your life recently.

Disease

Disease
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Diabetes, stroke, hypothyroid, the flu, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, and some types of cancers are just a handful of diseases that have brain fog as a symptom. Chronic illness, including chronic pain, has also been linked to brain fog symptoms.

One illness that comes up a lot in relation to brain fog is dementia, says Dr Kaiser.

“People may be afraid to bring up their forgetfulness as they worry it’s the beginning of dementia, but ignoring it won’t make it go away, and the sooner we diagnose you, the sooner we can start treating it,” he says.

If lifestyle changes haven’t helped and/or you have symptoms in addition to the brain fog, your doctor may want to run additional tests to rule these conditions out.

Learn about 51 everyday habits that reduce your risk of dementia.

Brain fog and Covid-19 long hauler syndrome

Brain fog and Covid-19 long hauler syndrome
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Covid-19 has brought brain fog front and centre – it’s one of the most common symptoms that lasts after the acute infection has resolved.

More research needs to be done into Covid-19’s effect on the brain, but the condition is likely due to inflammation in the blood vessels that feed the brain, says Dr Kaiser.

“We call it Covid fog,” says infectious disease specialist, Dr Rajeev Fernando. “It’s a newer syndrome we’ve identified, where patients end up experiencing mental clouding for months.”

If you’re experiencing “Covid brain fog,” there’s a good chance mental fuzziness is not the only symptom you’re still feeling.

“The virus can attack more than one system at a time, including the brain, which may explain the strange constellation of symptoms doctors have been seeing in Covid-19 patients, including nausea, diarrhoea, loss of smell or taste, heart damage and kidney failure, but also neurological problems, including stroke and brain fog,” says Dr Fernando.

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How to deal with brain fog

How to deal with brain fog
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There’s no single treatment for brain fog.

“The treatment will always depend on the cause itself,” says Dr Pope. “I think it takes a combination of a solid history and physical examination by a doctor to begin to get to the why and discuss potential treatments.”

In the meantime, he suggests you start by going back to the fundamentals of good self-care, including getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and lowering your stress.

Other things that may help include taking a holiday, working on puzzles or brainteasers, or taking a brain-boosting supplement.

Make sure all of your physical and mental health conditions are being treated appropriately and are under control.

When to call your doctor

When to call your doctor
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In and of itself, brain fog typically isn’t an emergency, says Hafeez.

However, if it appears suddenly, is a new symptom, or is seriously impacting your life, make an appointment to see your physician.

Rarely, it can be serious. If you have a brain fog accompanied by a severe headache, difficulty speaking, loss of vision, weakness, tingling, or numbness you may be having a stroke and should seek medical care immediately.

Find out how to act ‘FAST’ if you sense a stroke.

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Source: RD.com

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