Understanding what causes brain fog and how to treat it

The scientific community defined cognitive dysfunction, more commonly known as brain fog, as a mental condition characterized by bouts of confusion or reduced levels of clarity. The disorder was known to affect both men and women across all age groups. In fact, data from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) showed that between three percent and 42 percent of U.S. adults age 65 years and older suffer from mild cognitive impairment. The health agency also stated that about 40 percent to 50 percent of older adults suffer from subjective memory symptoms.

An article posted on the In Life Health Care website listed a few potential causes of brain fog including stress, insufficient sleep and poor dietary habits as well as hormonal imbalances, food and medication sensitivities and pre-existing medical conditions. The entry explained that both persistent stress and poor sleep may drive the brain to exhaustion, while reduced hormone levels and inadequate nutrient intake may impact brain function.

Likewise, the entry discussed that certain food products and medications may cause allergic reactions that may lead to fluctuations in brain function. The article added that inflammatory markers and altered blood sugar levels may hinder cognition. According to the article, diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and diabetes were widely known precursors of cognitive impairment. Other conditions associated with cognitive impairment include depression, anemia, Alzheimer’s disease and autoimmune disorders such as lupus, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

The USPSTF underscored the importance of early routine screening in order to mitigate the onset of the condition.

“In addition to its potential to help patients make diagnostic and treatment decisions, including treatment of reversible causes of dementia and management of comorbid conditions, early recognition of cognitive impairment allows clinicians to anticipate problems patients may have in understanding and adhering to recommended therapy,” the USPSTF stated.

“This information may also be useful to patients and their caregivers and family members in anticipating and planning for future problems that may develop as a result of progression of cognitive impairment. Although the overall evidence on routine screening is insufficient, clinicians should remain alert to early signs or symptoms of cognitive impairment (for example, problems with memory or language) and evaluate as appropriate,” the health agency added.

Keep brain fog at bay with these smart tips

The USPSTF discussed that both traditional medical intervention and non-pharmacologic approaches work wonders in preventing the onset of brain fog. (Related: 7 simple health tips for protecting your brain and cognitive function.)

“Several pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions aim to prevent, slow, or reverse cognitive impairment in older adults or improve caregiver burden and depression… Nonpharmacologic interventions include cognitive training, lifestyle behavioral interventions, exercise, educational interventions, and multidisciplinary care interventions. Several interventions focus on the caregiver and aim to improve caregiver morbidity and delay institutionalization of persons with dementia,” according to the health agency.

Health experts across the globe have identified several lifestyle changes that effectively stave off brain fog. These tips include:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety – Prolonged stress and anxiety were known to increase the risk of developing brain fog. Therefore, relieving stress through various activities – such as outdoor strolls, friend meetings or massage – may help reduce the chances of developing the condition.
  • Sleep more – An Alterna Script entry explained that new neural pathways form during sleep. Thus, adequate sleep plays an important role in preventing the onset of brain fog.
  • Detoxify – A number of studies found that toxic compounds and heavy metals such as lead, mercury and pesticides may negatively affect brain health. Likewise, cigarette smoking was previously linked to poor cognition. Undergoing various detox methods may help reduce the likelihood of brain fog.
  • Foot reflexology – The alternative treatment was known to target certain pressure points that help facilitate waste removal.

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