Brain fog: What is it? Possible causes, treatment and its association with COVID-19
What is Brain fog?
Brain fog is a severe medical condition that can disrupt the proper functioning of our central nervous system. It can interrupt or cause disturbance to our cognitive abilities, which can result in mental fatigue and confusion. Apart from that, brain fog can often lead to lack of focus and concentration, memory problems and unclear thoughts. You may face difficulty in making up your mind and deciding on the most trivial of things.
Causes of Brain fog
Unlike other diseases, brain fog is usually an output or a symptom of an underlying medical condition and can be triggered by various reasons. Some of the causes of brain fog are as follows.
– Insufficient sleep: Lack of sleep can often lead to poor brain functions. It can weaken your cognitive powers and take away your ability to concentrate. That said, 8 to 9 hours of sleep is crucial.
– Stress and anxiety: Prolonged stress and anxiety can affect your mental health and your body’s immune system, making you weak mentally and physically. This can lead to mental exhaustion and cause brain fog.
– Improper diet: Your brain health depends a lot on your diet. The kind of food you eat determines the proper functioning of your brain. Therefore, if your diet lacks proper nutrients and vitamins, you may develop brain fog as a symptom. That said, try and incorporate vitamin B-12 rich foods in your diet as it supports healthy brain functions.
– Change in hormones: Elevated levels of certain hormones can lead to brain fog and may affect memory and cause short-term cognitive impairment. Similarly, decrease in hormone levels in some may also trigger forgetfulness. For instance, a drop in estrogen level in menopausal women can affect their brain health.
– Medications: In many cases, prescribed drugs and medications may cause possible side effects such as brain fog in people. Therefore, it is important that you talk to your doctor as and when you notice signs of mental confusion.
– Associated health conditions: Pre-existing health conditions can also cause mental fatigue. From inflammation and fatigue to changes in blood glucose level, many underlying medical conditions can lead to brain fog. Diabetes, anemia, depression and hypothyroidism are some of the other diseases that can trigger brain fog too.
How can it be treated?
Once the cause of your mental fatigue or brain fog is determined, you can treat it accordingly.
If it is due to a pre-existing medical condition, for instance anemia, you can add iron-rich foods in your diet or resort to iron supplements that may increase the level of red blood cells in your body. Similar, depending on what is causing brain fog in you, you must treat it with the right diet, supplement, exercises and should make positive lifestyle choices.
Apart from that, sufficient sleep, regular physical activities and proper stress management can also help you treat brain fog efficiently.
Brain fog and it’s association with COVID-19
With the increasing impact of COVID-19 on our lives and our health, it may also cause serious damage to the brain.
According to a recent study published in preprint form on medRxiv, about 58% of long COVID patients reported signs of brain fog or mental confusion, making it a significant condition in the list of common long COVID symptoms. Many people who have recovered from COVID-19 have reported a sense of confusion, experiencing short-term memory loss, an inability to concentrate, and/or just feeling differently than they did before contracting the infection.
While the prolonged effects of the novel coronavirus may have triggered the deterioration of brain health, some have also blamed the strong medications associated with COVID-19 treatments.
That said, it is important that one stays in touch with their doctors and continues making healthy lifestyle choices.