Dealing with ‘Brain Fog’ in Sjogren’s Syndrome

Dealing with ‘Brain Fog’ in Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the glands that produce tears, saliva, and other secretions in the body. Symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome include dryness in the mouth and throateyes, skin, and other organs. These symptoms can lead to irritation, soreness, and pain.

Brain fog” is a colloquial term for cognitive dysfunction, which refers to impairment in functions such as thinking, memory, and reasoning in a way that can affect daily activities. It is a common complaint among people with Sjogren’s syndrome.

This article provides information about “brain fog” and what can be done to overcome it.

Understanding “brain fog”

A cognitive condition, “brain fog” is characterized by a temporary loss of focus and memory. It is associated with fuzzy thinking, confusion, loss of concentration, and difficulties in problem solving. “Brain fog” can be caused by a variety of factors, including sleeplessness, stress, certain medications, and conditions that cause fatigue, such as Sjogren’s syndrome. While “brain fog” episodes are generally momentary, persistence in the long-term usually indicates a more serious problem.

Reporting changes in your cognitive abilities

It is important that you or a caregiver are vigilant about keeping track of “brain fog” episodes and their frequency. If you experience a “brain fog” episode, such as loss of concentration or fuzzy memory, make sure to bring it up during an upcoming doctor’s appointment. It also is a good idea to note such occurrences in your personal health record for future reference.

Being mentally active

Exercising is a good way to keep “brain fog” at bay. Take an active part in daily activities, interact with people, and socialize. Learning new skills and reading books are great ways to keep the brain active.

Managing stress efficiently

Proper and efficient stress management is key to coping with the symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome. Ways to manage stress include leading an active lifestyle, staying away from negativity, and practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness.

Evaluating your medicines

Certain medications — such as anticholinergics, which block neurotransmitters in the brain — can cause “brain fog.” If you experience “brain fog” after taking any specific medicine, be sure to let your doctor know so that an alternative can be prescribed.

Watching out for anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression can lead to reduced activity levels and a general loss of interest in daily activities, which can accentuate “brain fog”. Watch out for common signs of depression and address them without delay.

Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake

Excess caffeine can keep you awake for longer periods of time while excessive alcohol intake can induce cognitive impairments. Therefore, it is important that their intake is moderated to prevent “brain fog.”


Last updated: Jan. 23, 2020


Sjogren’s Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.

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