Brain fog, although not a standalone ailment, is a prominent indication associated with numerous disorders. These include, among other common health anomalies like severe dehydration, iron-deficiency anaemia, diabetes mellitus, anxiety and depression - COVID-19 - the contagious viral illness of the upper respiratory tract, that is presently rampant across the world.
Brain fog is characterized by periods of feeling fuzzy and pounding headaches, accompanied by poor memory, lack of concentration and difficulty to focus on any activity, be it at work or home.
Also referred to as clouding of consciousness or mental fog, this neurological occurrence is widely exhibited by patients who have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 viral infection. Persistent mental confusion in brain fog being an unavoidable consequence of COVID-19, this bears striking similarities to the symptoms witnessed in previous coronavirus outbreaks among humans, namely SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
However, in addition to coronavirus infection and other lung complications, brain fog can be triggered due to numerous other reasons. Thus, identifying the exact cause of brain fog aids in the accurate diagnosis of underlying conditions in the affected person, to provide prompt medical treatment for their complete recovery.
Causes Of Brain Fog
Brain fog can be initiated due to stress, depression, insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, anxiety and even dehydration. Since all these syndromes and illnesses lead to severe mental fatigue, the brain gets drained of energy, making it challenging to concentrate.
Hormonal fluctuations also trigger brain fog. In women, this occurs during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, reducing clarity in the mind and leading to a decline in memory and focus.
Other factors contributing to brain fog and diet and medications. Certain food allergies, vitamin B-12, iron deficiencies and prescription medications cause sudden clouding of the mind and lasting headaches. These gradually diminish once the food substance is avoided, vitamin B-12, iron supplements are ingested and dosage of drugs is lowered.
Furthermore, people suffering from chronic ailments like diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism and autoimmune sicknesses like multiple sclerosis, lupus also experience episodes of brain fog.
The distinguishing signs of brain fog consist of:
- Memory loss, with a decline in concentration
- Inability to focus clearly on any activity
- Blurry vision
- Mental confusion and total absence of comprehension
- Throbbing headaches
- Lack of rational thinking, good judgment and understanding
Diagnosis And Treatment
Once brain fog recurs often within a week, or if the instance of clouding of consciousness instigates much pain and discomfort, hampering productivity and daily activity, it is advised to visit the doctor at once.
There is no single diagnostic assay to determine brain fog. Since it is a symptom of an underlying condition, neurologists initially conduct an external physical exam and a questionnaire, to know the diet, medication, sleep and exercise regime of the patient.
Blood samples are taken, to look for anomalies in levels of blood glucose, deficiency of essential nutrients, irregularities in liver function and kidney activity. They also help gauge if any inflammatory or autoimmune ailments are already pre-existing in the patient.Once the precise reason for brain fog is established, the physician recommends pertinent diet modifications and sleep habits to adhere to, to ensure the brain gets ample rest on a daily basis and does not undergo severe fatigue. In addition, relevant prescription drugs are given, to rectify the underlying diseases that trigger brain fog. This assures the optimal recovery of the patient and restores their mental capacities.