Posts Tagged ‘Blood’

Brain Fog

June 2, 2009

Brain Fog
By Kristy Bassett

Brain fog is possibly one of the most frustrating symptoms I have, not being able to think clearly can lead to major problems. It can not only be embarrassing not being able to think clearly, it can be dangerous.

The first thing to learn when you suffer brain fog is to never participate in any activities where you could be a danger to yourself or to others while it’s there. For me this has meant avoiding cooking and driving when the brain fog is a problem, this may be unavoidable at times, but where possible stick to this rule!

So what can be done? Unfortunately there are no miracle cures to lift the fog, but it can be managed. It’s worth investigating what is causing the fog in the first place.
Possible causes:

  • poor sleep
  • autoimmune disorders
  • hormonal imbalance
  • chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia
  • pain medication or the pain itself
  • allergies
  • iron deficiency and other nutritional deficiencies
  • blood sugar drops
  • dehydration
  • If you are able to pinpoint the cause, it may be possible to treat it simply. For others, the cause may not yet be known, or if it is known there may not be any more that can be done about it.


    Managing Brain Fog:

  • Try to avoid activities that are beyond your capacity, if possible rest is advisable
  • Caffeine: If there is no choice but to be able to function, it is the one time where stimulants such as tea or coffee may be a good idea to get through. This shouldn’t be a routine, but can be a crutch if necessary. Remember that once the caffeine has worn off you will likely feel worse than you did before the caffeine consumption. Warning: regular caffeine consumption is not recommended for those with fatigue.
  • Supplements: MAY help if there is a deficiency to improve energy: the most beneficial to energy are B vitamins, iron and coq10.
  • Manage your pain: (if this is the reason) as well as you can
  • Make notes as reminders: if you have to remember a lot of things in a day, it may be handy to write a list on a notepad to carry around with you, so things can be ticked off and not missed
  • Set reminders: this can be in a calendar, or diary, or through a computer program, whatever is going to be something you check often. Reminders can be for events such as a birthday, or when a bill is due as an example.
  • Take regular time outs: even if you are busy, it’s possible to take 5mins to shut your eyes, or do some stretches. This can help clear your head and stay focused; if your mind isn’t well focused the last thing you want is to overwhelm it.
  • Be sensible with your activities: Finally tackling some great written work may not be the best idea at these times, reading can be a good idea, but keep it something you can easily focus on, don’t add to frustrations just because you’ve always wondered if Dickens really is that good.
  • Work when you’re at your best: If it’s possible, try and work at the best time of day for you. Some people may find that the brain fog is worse earlier or later in the day.
  • Eat regular meals: avoid high sugar meals when you eat. A sugar spike means your sugar will drop. You don’t have to be diabetic to have sugar spikes and drops.
  • Avoid known allergens: both environmental and food allergies.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid chemical exposure: If you are chemical sensitive, be sure to avoid chemical exposures from creams, cleaning products, etc. Those with chemical sensitivities may find exposure triggers brain fog
  • Open a window if in the car: I cannot actually explain this, but even being a passenger in a car has been a trigger for brain fog for me personally, opening the window a touch can help this.
  • Deep breathing: It could help to clear your head just to do some simple deep breathing, it helps to swing your arms above your head as you breath in, and slowly lower them as you breath out, the action will help open the diaphragm and allow for deeper breathing.
  • Exercise: This recommendation comes with a warning, for some people with certain conditions this could be a very bad idea. If the fog is a side effect of extreme fatigue, physical activity could make it worse, in these cases rest is what’s needed. For others a short walk may clear the head.
  • It may be helpful to keep a diary; this is helpful to monitor any symptoms. Keeping a record of when the brain fog occurs can help identify possible triggers. It also allows you to identify what makes it worse and what makes it better. A little trial and error of techniques to manage it such as those mentioned above will be needed to find what works best for you.

    Source: The Recovery Room – http://www.recoveryroom.com.au


    My own comments:I agree with most of What Kristy has said..

    Pace yourself at all times, and rest as needed. Rest is taking at least fifteen minutes to relax, preferably laying down with your eyes closed, otherwise you are not truly giving your body a break.

    Water is awesome – it helps clean the toxins out of your body, a natural flush so to speak. 8- 8oz glasses of water. Myself I can stomach that much straight water.. I half juice with water when I can.. Makes it easier.. But not too much cuz juice can be high in sugar & calories.. An alternative to crystal light or other 0 Calorie powder if you can tolerate the sugar substitute.

    Skip the caffeine.. In addition to the crashes & everything Kristy mentions there is also the fact that if you drink too late (& how late is too late depends on the caffeine & sugar content) it will keep you up and be detrimental to your sleep..

    Eating regularly is my biggest problem. The recommendation is three small meals a day with three snack in between.. This allows your sugar levels to be more consistent over the day that sparatic eating, as well as the simple 3 squares a day. You are also less likely to snack. If you are going to snack, try & make it veggies.. Keep pealed carrots & celery in the fridge and have a stock of fresh fruit around. I usually avoid raw veggies, ignore the fruit & go for cookies. I do find it easier to make salads at night with dinner than a 2nd veggie because I keep a greens salad mix in the fridge that is ready to go & you can add more if you want; cucumber, radish, pepper, apples, celery, or cheese are options here. Just a tip to make things a bit easier.

    Reminders are necessary for me.. We’ve tried also of different plans and tricks to help with this. We’ve used a white board. We’ve used an automated to-do list on the web. We’ve used an online calendar, as well as a local (on my pc) calendar – this helps keep my appointments organized as well as birthdays/anniversaries, but not daily stuff around the house. We tried post-its, and notebooks but I’d loose them or start a new book/list. I currently have a written to-do list that we re-evaluate daily or every other day to keep me on track, to adjust for pain & fatigue, and to prioritize tasks.

    Avoid allergens – I think this is a no brainer.. gets tested if you haven’t already. I have my environmental testing done.. need to get my food testing done.

    Exercise, in my opinion is necessary, despite what Kristy says. I try to do yoga & aqua fit regularly.. I agree that some are not able to do that much, so even a walk around the block, or one of those exercise videos specifically for Fibromites. I have one and it’s all based in a chair. There is also chair-based yoga in some areas that are available, usually for seniors.

    Kelli