Experiencing Brain Fog with Psoriatic Arthritis
I have had psoriasis for over 50 years and psoriatic arthritis for 25 years, but was just diagnosed in the past 10 years. Probably one of the most difficult challenges I am starting to face is cognitive dysfunction, better known as brain fog.
Brain fog is not all in my head
There are days I think I am going crazy. I can be driving my car and don’t have a clue where I was supposed to be going, or doing my job and forget what I’m working on. I thought this was all in my head, but realize it’s a big problem for me.
There are days this has made it difficult to concentrate. I have trouble remembering things and in some cases, lose my ability to think clearly. At one point I thought it was me getting older. I had to ask myself why this was happening and what was the cause.
The impact on quality of life
I spoke to my doctor about this and was told that pain is the main reason for this. Psoriatic arthritis is painful and that pain can disrupt your ability to think clearly and side effects from medications.
This has put a damper on my life. It’s starting to impact my ability to work, study, or even carry out normal tasks that require focus. Probably one of the worst things I am experiencing is my forgetfulness. This is causing more stress, which is not good.
Psoriatic arthritis already makes me feel useless at times. I feel like it’s taking away my energy. I just want to be alone. It’s hard to get family and friends to understand what is going on with me.
Do you experience brain fog as a symptom of PsA?
Tips for lifting the brain fog
With all these negative and life-altering symptoms that come from psoriatic arthritis, is there hope? How can we learn to cope with this in our lives? We all have our own way of living and dealing with this condition.
I have compiled a list of helpful tips that I have tried. I am sharing them below:
- Lists are important – to do lists, grocery lists and emergency contact and important phone numbers lists. Having this at your fingertips will help you remain calm when you can’t recall the info you’re looking for.
- Vitamins – Liquid vitamin D, B12, and magnesium are very helpful with pain and also alleviating symptoms of brain fog.
- Remove certain foods – caffeine, sugars, and refined carbs combined together are like mini-bombs that only add to your brain fog and pain. If you’re having a bad episode, you should avoid food or drinks with too much of these.
- Hydrate – dehydration and lack of water in your body will also magnify the pain, so stay hydrated.
- Healthy fats – invest in a good omega 3 supplement. This supplement will help with brain fog and fatigue. You can also eat foods loaded with healthy fats, but supplements are also useful.
- Don’t overload – get plenty of rest, manage stress, and don’t overload your daily or weekly lists with too many tasks. You need to make realistic goals and have a back-up plan. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
It's important to stay positive
Many people who don’t suffer from psoriatic arthritis aren’t aware of all the negative side effects that come along with this condition. Brain fog can be frustrating and also disrupt the daily functions of a person’s life.
Brain fog is not your imagination. It is very real and it is very serious to those of us who suffer from it. You can’t stop living your life, you have to prepare yourself. As redundant as it sounds, you need to stay positive.
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?