Brain fog

applerose Member Posts: 3,621
edited 16. Jul 2013, 19:21 in Living with Arthritis archive
I've been reading that a few of you suffer from 'brain fog'. I hadn't heard of it before now. Just done a bit of research and found that it is linked to RA. Over the last month or so, I have become more forgetful and sometimes even can't think what I am in the middle of doing.

What do you blame it on? Arthritis, meds or something else? I only take paracetamol when things are a bit worse. I can cope most of the time without it so I can't blame it on meds. My grandmother, my mum and now my dad all had/have Alzheimers so I'm starting to worry in case it's that. I'm seeing my rheumie next month so will discuss it with him.


  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Brain fog? I think it has a number of causes, for me it's the less-than- wonderful mix of stress, pain, meds, heat, tiredness, arthritis, tiredness, heat, meds, pain and stress. I have yet to discover that happiness leads to brain fog but I live in hope. :wink: DD
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think happiness can cause a different(and preferable) kind of brain fog DD that manifests as a fluffy cloud that manages to soft-focus the nastiness of the real world. 'Lurve' has this effect on some people...
    Applerose I do sympathise with your concerns that brain fog might be something else, I worry about that now since my mother's rapid decline and recent death due to dementia. I find myself thinking back to the things she did or said which with hindsight were the first indications something was wrong and wondering if I am doing them too, or if it's just an episode of the age-related, living alone, grumpy old woman syndrome!
  • scattered
    scattered Member Posts: 326
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I just attended a very interesting talk by a rheumatologist on the extra-articular presentations of RA. One of the things I learnt is that the brain is virtually the only organ/system not affected directly by the inflammation in our bodies. He said that 'brain fog' is caused by the fatigue and the pain that patients experience, but not by the inflammation itself.

    I have never experienced the brain fog from happiness, but I know that if I'm having a bad spell mood wise then I tend to forget a lot too. So, the good news is that it isn't caused by RA directly, the bad news is that the symptoms of RA do contribute to it!
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've always associated "Brain Fog" with fibro.....I don't have fibro but the reading etc I've done seems to point to that.....Who knows...I'm no doctor...sorry

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,223
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That's fascinating, scattered, and makes so much sense.

    I noticed my 'brain power', concentration, memory etc dwindling around age 50 and made a determined effort to 'use it or lose it'. I started doing crosswords and sudoku, taking more exercise, forcing myself to do new things or just things I wanted to shrink from - anything to stretch me.

    I do think I'm better than I was then but I also think there's some truth in what one of my sons said "It's not that you forget, Mum: it's that you don't listen in the first place." He's right. I don't concentrate on the details of things.

    Ah, the brain mists' of joy! Lead me to it. I love it.
  • bubbadog
    bubbadog Member Posts: 5,544
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I suffer with terrible brain fog! I forget appointments if I don't put them on my phone and have reminders a few days before otherwise I forget! I could be in the middle of a conversation and totally forget what I was about to say! And silly things like typing on here and can't think of a word for something! And the most annoying!!!! Names!!
    I think it started when I was put on a few meds when I was diagnosed I can't remember!! :x (you see!!) It is annoying and can be upsetting when it gets to you.
  • dibdab
    dibdab Member Posts: 1,498
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Cocodamols and lack of sleep give me brain fog-so without the RA I wouldn't have the brain fog!!! However, when our (28 year old) twins were babies I had the same problem- again I think it was sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Mind you hubby says I don't listen properly so I forget meetings and the like :?

    Deb x
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Yes, I have this. I recently read it can be related to pain, ie much of the neural network is involved in processing pain signals and less available for processing other information. This made a lot of sense to me. Fatigue, stress & lack of sleep is a big determinant of how "fogged-in" I am too. I used to blame codeine but I think this plays only a minor role in my forgetfulness/inability to concentrate. I blame pain.

    I blamed my husband for a long time; his disorganization, not putting things back where he found them. The truth was I just couldn't remember well anymore. The nastiest trick is where I can swear up and down that I've done something only to find out that I haven't; I had only thought about doing it. This terrifies me. My mother is in the throws of alzheimer's at the moment and the effects on her previously very intelligent mind are truly horrible.

    I used to have a huge memory for all kinds of things, now I have to write everything down (then I forget where I put the list!!). I keep a wall of sticky notes near my bed of things I want to remember and the act of looking at them several times a day helps me remember, as does merely the act of writing them down. As was already stated, really slowing down and paying attention to what I'm doing, or in conversation, really helps.

    I try to keep things extra-organized in the house so things are easily found when needed. I know this is obvious, but I'm chronically behind in housework, etc. and really never seem to get fully caught up. And husband really is disorganized but being blessed with a fantastic memory, it's less of an issue for himself.

    I think Sticky is right that doing lots of puzzles and games is very helpful. The "use it or lose it" method. I think it's one more way we arthritics need to fight back at the insults of disease and pain. Chronic pain syndromes have been shown to cause shrinkage of grey matter, as does the social isolation that often accompanies chronic pain. Talking and socializing have been shown to be beneficial to brain function. I really fall into being a hermit if I let myself.

    One thing I try never to forget is my sense of humor. Although lately I'm having trouble remembering what :lol::lol::D is.Here's to avoiding pain and brain fog being our constant companions.
  • applerose
    applerose Member Posts: 3,621
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for all your replies. There are some interesting things there.

    DD, I'm not surprised you have brain fog with all the pain you are in and the stress and lack of sleep.

    Daffy, yes it is a bit worrying that we could be in the very first stages of dementia but, like you, maybe it's because of age and living alone. Like to think I'm not grumpy though. Hmmm, or am I? :lol:

    Scattered, that is very interesting. I can believe the fatigue and pain can be responsible but, as I'd not heard of it until recently, I wasn't sure if it would be that or the meds.

    Hileena, I did wonder for a while if I had fibro but I have been told it is RA.

    Sticky, I'm also trying to use my brain more. Can't say I've really used it much over the last few years but need to make the effort. As you say, use it or lose it. I've noticed I can't concentrate for long enough to take things in. That's probably at least part of my problem.

    Bubbadog, I have a diary next to me downstairs. I write in appointments, things I have to do each day like putting money in the bank and I check it every morning to see what I need to do that day. I also have a notepad next to my bed. If I think of anything I need to remember for the next day, I write it down. Then I'm not awake half the night trying to remember it.

    Deb, I'm thinking lack of sleep probably does play a big part in brain fog. I don't usually get a full night's sleep and often not much sleep at all.

    Boomer, you are another one who thinks it is due to pain, fatigue and lack of sleep so I'm going with that. And you also have a parent with Alzheimers so I can empathise with how you are feeling about that. I also used to have a very good memory so not happy it's going. I'm used to be very organised but no longer am. I think I need to start being organised again. I'm sure that will help too. I too don't spend much time with other people. I'm on my own most of the day at work, most friends have moved out of the area and I only see family one day a week. That's something else I need to work on.
  • phoenixoxo
    phoenixoxo Member Posts: 625
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi everyone,

    It's good to know that I'm not alone in this :)

    My work keeps my brain active, plus I write creatively and I enjoy conversation, but it's all a bit of a battle really. I find that pain reduces my concentration levels, but pain meds do too, so it's hard to find a balance. The calendar tool on my email account helps, as it emails a reminder for every entry, but sometimes I forget to use it!

    (In fact, that's just reminded me, I should've put in my repeat prescription yesterday. Oops!)

    Hope everyone's coping in the heat,