How to Manage Brain Fog When You Have EDS

How to Manage Brain Fog When You Have EDS
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While “brain fog” is not one of the most common symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), many patients report experiencing this form of cognitive dysfunction, which can affect their ability to focus, learn, retain information, and maintain employment.

What is EDS?

EDS refers to a group of genetic disorders affecting the connective tissues that provide structure to joints, skin, blood vessels, and other tissues and organs. Depending on the type of EDS, symptoms can range from loose joints to life-threatening complications. Those with hypermobile EDS (hEDS) often report experiencing brain fog.

What is brain fog?

Brain fog is defined as episodes of cognitive dysfunction that can lead to issues with verbal recall, basic math, short-term memory, and concentration. Problems with any of these mental functions can affect one’s quality of life.

Episodes of brain fog can hit in waves, often hampering the ability to think clearly for hours or even days. Those who experience it often complain of an inability to perform day-to-day tasks, organize thoughts, or hold a conversation. Some people have problems with word choice and language, and their speech might be slow and confused.

While cognitive dysfunction is not linked to diminished intellect, it can be perplexing to those who experience it, affecting their confidence and self-esteem.

What causes brain fog?

Some researchers think that brain fog in hEDS is the result of lower blood flow to the brain due to blood pooling in the lower extremities because of stretchy veins. However, more research is needed to establish this link.

What makes it worse?

Just as excessive physical activity will cause muscle fatigue, protracted mental activity may cause or aggravate brain fog and related cognitive problems.

A person’s general mental health can also affect the severity of brain fog. For example, depression or anxiety could exacerbate cognitive dysfunction.

How to I manage it?

If you experience brain fog, balance activity with rest to avoid becoming overwhelmed. To pace yourself, find a comfortable baseline of mental activity, and divide it into small manageable portions. Intersperse these with rest or relaxation. Before you reach mental fatigue, stop any cognitively demanding activity. Do not push yourself past the limitations you’ve set for yourself.

If you experience short-term memory loss, keep a list of important things you need to do for each day. Also, make sure you return items, such as keys or medications, to their designated places, and focus on one activity at a time instead of multitasking.

Ensure you have proper social and medical support. If you’re having a difficult time coping with brain fog, you may want to discuss remedies with your physician. In addition, it may help to tell family members, friends, and coworkers about the trouble you’re having and how they can help you cope.

 

Last updated: June 17, 2020

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Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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