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 throat, eyes, 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
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