Cognitive dysfunction – What causes brain fog?

What causes brain fog?
What causes brain fog?

What are the causes of brain fog? Also known as fibro fog or cognitive dysfunction.

Very common with fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and different kinds of arthritis!

Thought this article was very interesting. If you have any concerns about brain fog please contact your doctor!

Multiple Sclerosis – what are the signs and symptoms of MS?

Terri wears a tie to promote MS awareness
Terri wears a tie to promote MS awareness

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause a wide range of symptoms and can affect any part of the body. Each person with the condition is affected differently.

The symptoms are unpredictable. Some people’s symptoms develop and worsen steadily over time, while for others they come and go.

Periods when symptoms get worse are known as “relapses”. Periods when symptoms improve or disappear are known as “remissions”.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

fatigue

vision problems

numbness and tingling

muscle spasms, stiffness and weakness

mobility problems

pain

problems with thinking, learning and planning

depression and anxiety

sexual problems

bladder problems

bowel problems

speech and swallowing difficulties

Most people with MS only have a few of these symptoms.

See your GP if you’re worried you might have early signs of MS. The symptoms can be similar to several other conditions, so they’re not necessarily caused by MS.

Read more about diagnosing MS.

Fatigue

Feeling fatigued is one of the most common and troublesome symptoms of MS.

It’s often described as an overwhelming sense of exhaustion that means it’s a struggle to carry out even the simplest activities.

Fatigue can significantly interfere with your daily activities and tends to get worse towards the end of each day, in hot weather, after exercising, or during illness.

Vision problems

In around one in four cases of MS, the first noticeable symptom is a problem with one of your eyes (optic neuritis). You may experience:

some temporary loss of vision in the affected eye, usually lasting for days to weeks

colour blindness

eye pain, which is usually worse when moving the eye

flashes of light when moving the eye

Other problems that can occur in the eyes include:

double vision

involuntary eye movements, which can make it seem as though stationary objects are jumping around

Occasionally, both of your eyes may be affected.

Abnormal sensations

Abnormal sensations can be a common initial symptom of MS.

This often takes the form of numbness or tingling in different parts of your body, such as the arms, legs or trunk, which typically spreads out over a few days.

Muscle spasms, stiffness and weakness

MS can cause your muscles to:

contract tightly and painfully (spasm)

become stiff and resistant to movement (spasticity)

feel weak

Mobility problems

MS can make walking and moving around difficult, particularly if you also have muscle weakness and spasticity (see above). You may experience:

clumsiness

difficulty with balance and co-ordination (ataxia)

shaking of the limbs (tremor)

dizziness and vertigo, which can make it feel as though everything around you is spinning

Pain

Some people with MS experience pain, which can take two forms:

Pain caused by MS itself (neuropathic pain) – this is pain caused by damage to the nervous system. This may include stabbing pains in the face and a variety of sensations in the trunk and limbs, including feelings of burning, pins and needles, hugging or squeezing. Muscle spasms can sometimes be painful.

Musculoskeletal pain – back, neck and joint pain can be indirectly caused by MS, particularly for people who have problems walking or moving around that puts pressure on their lower back or hips.

Problems with thinking, learning and planning

Some people with MS have problems with thinking, learning and planning – known as cognitive dysfunction. This can include:

problems learning and remembering new things – long-term memory is usually unaffected

slowness in processing lots of information or multi-tasking

a shortened attention span

getting stuck on words

problems with understanding and processing visual information, such as reading a map

difficulty with planning and problem solving – people often report that they know what they want to do, but can’t grasp how to do it

problems with reasoning, such as mathematical laws or solving puzzles

However, many of these problems aren’t specific to MS and can be caused by a wide range of other conditions, including depression and anxiety, or even some medications.

Mental health issues

Many people with MS experience periods of depression. It’s unclear whether this is directly caused by MS, or is due to the stress of having to live with a long-term condition, or both.

Anxiety can also be a problem for people with MS, possibly due to the unpredictable nature of the condition.

In rare cases, people with MS can experience rapid and severe mood swings, suddenly bursting into tears, laughing or shouting angrily for no apparent reason.

Sexual problems

MS can have an effect on sexual function.

Men with MS often find it hard to obtain or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction). They may also find it takes a lot longer to ejaculate when having sex or masturbating, and may even lose the ability to ejaculate altogether.

For women, problems include difficulty reaching orgasm, as well as decreased vaginal lubrication and sensation.

Both men and women with MS may find they are less interested in sex than they were before. This could be directly related to MS, or it could be the result of living with the condition.

Bladder problems

Bladder problems are common in MS. They may include:

having to pee more frequently

having a sudden, urgent need to pee, which can lead to unintentionally passing urine (urge incontinence)

difficulty emptying the bladder completely

having to get up frequently during the night to pee

recurrent urinary tract infections

These problems can also have a range of causes other than MS.

Bowel problems

Many people with MS also have problems with their bowel function.

Constipation is the most common problem. You may find passing stools difficult and pass them much less frequently than normal.

Bowel incontinence is less common, but is often linked to constipation. If a stool becomes stuck, it can irritate the wall of the bowel, causing it to produce more fluid and mucus that can leak out of your bottom.

Again, some of these problems aren’t specific to MS and can even be the result of medications, such as medicines prescribed for pain.

Speech and swallowing difficulties

Some people with MS experience difficulty chewing or swallowing (dysphagia) at some point.

Speech may also become slurred, or difficult to understand (dysarthria).

Can High Blood Pressure Affect Your Brain Health?

Can High Blood Pressure Affect Your Brain Health?
Can High Blood Pressure Affect Your Brain Health?

High blood pressure is very common among adults. The blood pressure measured above 120/80 mmHg is considered to be higher than normal blood pressure. The statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 1 in 3 adults in the United States have high blood pressure. High blood pressure usually doesn’t have symptoms. However, sometimes the people with high blood pressure may experience headache, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

If high blood pressure usually doesn’t have symptoms, then what should you do? I guess I don’t have to tell you about it. You need to get your blood pressure checked every now and then. There are people who just ignore their high blood pressure, and due to their carelessness, it leads them to various diseases, which are caused by uncontrolled blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, then you should better get it under control. In this article, you will get to know about how high blood pressure can affect your brain health.

How high blood pressure can have an adverse impact on your brain health?

It is very crucial to control your blood pressure to reduce the chance of suffering from brain diseases. There are many things, which can lead to high blood pressure like smoking, stress, overweight, salty foods, and others. You should modify your lifestyle to minimize the chances of having blood pressure. When you minimize your chances of having high blood pressure, you automatically minimize the chances of suffering from brain diseases as well.

Some of the brain diseases are dementia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and others. The statistics show that 5.4 million Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer and 1 million Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, the numbers are expected to further increase in the upcoming years. With the high prevalence of brain diseases, it is necessary to take good care of your brain health. In addition to controlling your blood pressure, you should also consume best brain foods for improving your brain health.

Your brain needs sufficient blood supply to function properly. High blood pressure could cause severe damage to your brain if it is not controlled. Here are the ways how high blood pressure can affect your brain health.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA): TIA is also called mini stroke. It is simply a temporary obstruction of blood supply to your brain. The root cause of TIA is high blood pressure. TIA is generally caused because of a blood clot or atherosclerosis, which are caused because of high blood pressure.

Damages and weakens your brain’s blood vessels: Uncontrolled blood pressure will damage and weakens the blood vessels in your brain. This will further lead in narrowing, rupturing, or leakage. When this happens, you are likely to suffer from stroke. Moreover, uncontrolled blood pressure will also form a blood clot in your arteries, which blocks the blood from getting to the brain, which will lead to stroke.

Dementia: Dementia is simply a brain disease, which causes thinking, reasoning, memory, and other problems related to functions of the brain. There are various causes of dementia, and one of the causes is high blood pressure. As high blood pressure results in obstruction in arteries, which is responsible for providing blood to the brain, it causes vascular dementia.

Mild Cognitive Impairment: You need a good memory to smoothly carry out your day to day activities. However, with cognitive impairment, you will not be able to smoothly carry out your day to day operation. Mild cognitive impairment may be caused due to aging, diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure. The obstruction of blood flow to your brain caused because of high blood pressure does not allow your brain to function properly, which may lead to mild cognitive impairment. You can try some of the top brain supplements like Geniux to improve your memory.

Conclusion

You are now well aware about the risks of not controlling your blood pressure. It is absolutely critical to control your blood pressure to improve your overall health. Your brain is a central processing unit of your body, and you don’t want to be careless regarding your brain health. You should seek for every possible way to improve your brain health; however, the first step is to control your blood pressure. You can also try some of the top memory aids for improving your memory.

I hope you will modify your lifestyle after reading this article. You can modify your diet, and do some physical workouts enhance your overall health. The study shows that exercises can also enhance your overall brain health. You don’t need to panic; you just need to take necessary actions to improve your health and lifestyle.

Author Bio:
Annie Lizstan works as a health and beauty consultant for online websites and an independent researcher by profession. She had completed her studies from university of Arizona and lives in Wasilla, Alaska.  She has experience researching as a passion as well as profession. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Do breast cancer treatments affect cognitive functioning?

Breast cancer screening
Breast cancer screening

Breast cancer is indeed a biggest threat for the women. It was scarier in the past but with the passage of time things have been improved yet there is need to conduct more researches in order to improve the situation. Breast cancer screening is the first step to start with. This start makes so many things clear and gives a way to follow. This way is actually the phase where one has to go through several treatments once diagnosed with breast cancer.


Unfortunately some of the treatments have side effects as well. Side effects are though not an enigma but obviously one has to be careful about all the related things. Certainly experts are working on it to lessen the harmful effects of the prescribed treatments not only with regards to breast cancer but also the other diseases.

Side effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer…

Several treatments have different side effects. They vary from each other with regards to the procedure as well as the patient. It is said that chemotherapy effects the cognitive functioning of the patient. Researches are working to find out what exactly causes this and which parts of the brain are getting affected by the said treatment. Like breast cancer screening, doctors have done screening of the brains as well of those patients who are going through the chemotherapy for their breast cancer.

It was very much evident that the functioning of the brain which is related to the planning, attention and memory seemed fragile in the patients who were undergoing the chemotherapy than those who have not gone through the same procedure.

Accumulating the findings…

These findings regarding the side effects of chemotherapy will further help out to find out the ways to reduce the side effects of this particular treatment. It has also confirmed the complaints registered by many women regarding their cognitive functioning. It has also emphasized to realize this matter seriously and to work together to solve the issue.

Shelli Kesler who is the head of this study says, “There has been a controversy whether it’s the disease itself or hormonal blockade medications or chemotherapy”.

This particular disorder is actually the “chemo brain” which is commonly noticed in the patients with chemotherapy treatment. There were several women included in this experiment and those who didn’t have any chemotherapy have shown combatively better memory condition and functioning. It was also observed that issues related with the memory are also linked with the person’s own ability. Here the importance of breast cancer screening becomes more essential.




Reasons behind the cognitive disorder…

Several reasons or causes have been presented like,

  1. Chemotherapy being a toxic for the brain’
  2. This procedure may cause inflammation to the brain
  3. This treatment is also linked with some damage to DNA

This is not only the chemotherapy but hormonal therapy is also said to has some side effects for the brain functioning. So it’s not just the chemotherapy.

Shelli Kesler says, People sometimes think women are exaggerating [chemo brain] but this study showed that self-reported impairment actually correlates with brain impairment pointing to the fact that they should not be ignored”.

The real thing is to work together to lessen the side effects by eliminating the dangerous and problem creating elements in the said treatments as we have to proceed with these treatments if diagnosed with the breast cancer.

Author Bio :

Jasmine William an enthusiastic writer and a researcher who tend to follow a path which leads her to the road of wellness. She also wants others to follow the same roads. Health, wellbeing and breast cancer are particularity the topics she prefer to write on. She always uses her pen to write the authentic and informative stuff. You can follow her on  twitter

 

Cognitive dysfunction – Does the cold weather make your brain fog or fibro fog better or worse? Join in our discussion blog

Cognitive dysfunction (also called brain fog , fibro fog or clouding of consciousness) was a big topic in the early days of Patient Talk.

Brain fog
Brain fog

And at the same time we were also interested in the impact of the reasons ( and the weather) on pain levels. You can see the results of our poll on the subject here.

So I was very interested when Kelly asked “Since the weather has changed to cold, my cognitive function is getting way worse, where I can’t get words out of mouth. Does anyone else experience this the cold?” in our Multiple Sclerosis group yesterday morning.

The feedback was very interesting.

Tracet replied “Yes. Does anyone else have trouble getting people to understand this happens to you? I think people are starting to assume I’m just an idiot, even after explaining cognitive dysfunction.”

For Roberto it is the other way round ” I experience this but it happens when the weather gets warm”.

” Definitely far worse with the cold, I like the heat, thought I was strange as the ‘norm’ is the opposite. I practise Bikram Yoga in the heat which helps me a lot, my neurologist freaked when I told her, but now she thinks its wonderful!” was Brendan’s suggestion.

But for Kristine “I love all the seasons. snow and sun are both fun! Humidity is my killer…”.

No the other hand for Charlene ” For me it is the extreme weather. Extreme cold and heat both make it worse. Of course extreme is a relative term! Lol extreme heat is like 80 and extreme cold is like below 45. Lol”.

But for some ” Doesn’t matter what season it is my mind is one purr muddle I nix up words loose train if thought an forgot what a conversation is I stair in to space like no one is home …but hay I can’t argue with anyone as I forget what has made me mad !!! The joys hay”

So what about you?

It would be great if you could take the poll below. Even better could you share your story in the comments section below.

Cognitive dysfunction refers to the loss of intellectual functions such as reasoning, memory , and general thinking which together impair day to day living.. People with brain fog have difficulty with verbal recall, basic arithmetic, and overall concentration.

It can be caused by a variety of medical conditions which include multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia (hence the term fibro fog), lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, hypothyroidism, Lyme’s disease and stress. What is interesting , at least to me, is how many of these disorders are auto-immune conditions.

Many thanks in advance for all your help!