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Experiencing Brain Fog with Psoriatic Arthritis

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. 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.

Cognitive issues are real with PsA

Probably one of the most difficult challenges I am starting to face is cognitive dysfunction, better known as brain fog. 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. 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.

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 that I am 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.

Is there hope?

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.

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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • pumpkinSS2010
    5 months ago

    I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2012, misdiagnosed with eczema last summer and re-diagnosed about three months later with psoriasis. For many years (I would say about 10, and progressively getting worse; enough for physical therapy and steroid/cortisone shots covered by insurance, I have been having severe muscle, skeletal and joint pain. Even a few of my joints in my right fingers are showing signs of twisting in in natural directions. X-rays by rheumatology were inconclusive. More recently, I have been having serious cognitive issues. Serious enough to warrant bringing it up to my doctor. I forget words, I constantly forget important appointments, I have forgotten birthdays, names, work dates, it is so out of the norm for me. I am o my in my mid 40’s. Am I wrong to suspect Psoriatic Arthritis? Am I wrong to want to seek a second opinion?

  • CathyD moderator
    5 months ago

    Hi @pumpkinss2010, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Sorry to read about all the issues you’ve been dealing with over the past 10 years. It’s definitely not unreasonable to want to seek a second opinion – especially if you have psoriasis and are experiencing joint pain. Have you seen a rheumatologist since your psoriasis diagnosis? -Catherine, Community Moderator

  • Kenlip
    7 months ago

    Psoriatic Arthritis and a torn meniscus have combined to severely limit my mobility. It’s hard to accept these limits and that has brought about depression.

    I’ve been told by a leading orthopedist that repairing the meniscus is not feasible, given my age (66), weight (270) and the proliferation of arthritis.

    Finding homeopathic help is filled with trial, tribulation and generally failure. I use InstaFlex, which seemed to provide some relief at first. I use Cannabidiol but that hasn’t done much.

    Finding pain relief has been very difficult. I’m currently using Tramadol. I tried ibuprofen, both over-the-counter and prescription, and I began passing blood in my urine. Opioids are obviously out of the question.

    I’ve been injecting Humira for 4+ months with very little progress. I’m wondering about the other drugs that I’ve seen mentioned like Otezla.

    So, I’m not sure what to do now. I’m going to see a pain management professional and I’m hopeful physical therapy will strengthen the knee.

    Maybe somebody has some suggestions. Maybe my experiences will help someone else. God bless all of you who face the horrors of PsA every day. Maybe a cure is around the corner.

  • HelenE
    4 months ago

    Go to another orthopedist. Repairing a torn or frayed meniscus is a day surgery and weight or age has zip to do with the outcome or risk.

    I speak from experience. The anesthetic is local, just like for dental work. I am furious on your behalf. I am 67, obese and I just had a total hip 2 years ago.

  • TCanyonn
    7 months ago

    I’ve had trouble remembering things lately. At work I forgot which client I scheduled with which therapist. And today I met a new neighbor who called me by my name and I didn’t remember that 10 minutes earlier I had introduced myself! I’ve been saying the wrong words, or forgetting which word I wanted to say. Today was especially painful and my fog was really bad. I’ve not really experienced brain fog until now. I am also dealing with thyroid ussues/possible cancer. I’ve always had a sharp mind and good memory and suddenly I can’t trust it. That is horrifying.

  • Diane T author
    8 months ago

    Hello Nancyinla,

    I have never had thoracic spine breakdown of your vertebrae. Every other year or so; I do get pain in my spine. My doctor gives me a shot and the pain goes away. I will check with our community and see if anyone suffers with this. I hope you get some relief soon.

    Take care,

    Diane

  • Nancyinla
    8 months ago

    Does anyone has thoracic spine breakdown of your vertebrae’s? My T8-T10 is literally breaking down. I just had a biopsy where they took 8 samples of my bones. I am in horrible pain 24/7. Even pain meds don’t 100% relieve my thoracic pain. Doctor’s are puzzled. And, their is no doctor’s that focus on thoracic. Would love to know if anyone else suffers from this type of pain.

  • Diane T author
    8 months ago

    Cindysue04 – We are so blessed to have these great men in our lives. My husband has been my rock for almost 25 years. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t know where I would have been all these years. Keep your head up and maybe one day this will all go away.

    Take care,

    Diane

  • Cindysue04
    8 months ago

    Thank you so much for the list of things to help with brain fog. I have had thyroid disease, for years, diagnosed in my 30s then in my 40s, other things started popping up, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, and then just last year, psoratic arthritis. I have had this brain fog for years, I even thought I had early onset altshemers (sp). It was that bad. I have not been able to work since 2002. I am so so thankful I have a very supportive husband. He has been my rock. When I am frustrated, he encourages, and is my champion. Not too many men would stick around for the twenty plus years to deal with these illnesses. I am blessed, being positive is a big plus that helps, even on the bad flare days.

  • Leanne Donaldson
    8 months ago

    What a blessing a supportive spouse is @cindysue04! Brain fog is a very difficult symptom to manage, especially since there is so little we can to do keep it at bay. I think my hubby thinks I’ve lost my mind on more than one occasion since sometimes I forget entire conversations 😉
    Sounds like you have quite a bit to manage with your health, being positive sure is an asset to have in your toolbox. How are you doing today? -Leanne, Community Moderator

  • Diane T author
    9 months ago

    The brain fog is a pain for me. I still work and I have to take notes on a job I have been doing for 30 year.

    Keep us up to date on your progress.

    Diane T

  • Sallynine9
    9 months ago

    Also brain fog….I have problems with describing words…..

  • Diane T author
    9 months ago

    The brain fog is a pain for me. I still work and I have to take notes on a job I have been doing for 30 year.

    Keep us up to date on your progress.

    Diane T

  • Sallynine9
    9 months ago

    I have fibromyalgia and think I also have PSA. My feet are so painful.especially at night and morning. They are Hot and my toes become like little sausages. When I’m up and walking during the day it subsides some. I’m a diabetic and worry about loosing my toes…. I’ve had 3 lumbar surgeries and one cervical fusion.

  • Diane T author
    9 months ago

    Hi Sallynine9,

    I was just diagnosed with fibromyalgia a year ago. I have had PsA for over 30 years. I am also a diabetic. I know what you are going through. I try to take care of myself as much as I can, but as I get older, the pains are coming on more and more and the more medications I take. Just hang in there. We are all in this together.

    Take care,

    Diane T

  • Diane T author
    10 months ago

    Hello geeatbs66,

    No, we are not crazy. It’s a real thing that drives me crazy to this day. I have been doing the same job for over 30 years and will forget how to do my job. I just want to scream at times. We just have to hang in there.

    Thank you,

    Diane

  • geeatbs66
    10 months ago

    Thank you for letting the rest of us know that we’re not crazy. For years I have had problems with my memory. I will be speaking and “lose” words. People around me have gotten used to it as it has been going on for a long time. It is so frustrating. Always nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Jazzy532
    11 months ago

    This is no fun, My Rheumatologist told me to forget the widespread pain, I should exercise and forget the pain, Oh Really? My fingers have nodules, my feet elbows knees and spine are all telling me to just lie down and give up? But what if I don’t want to? How can I manage to get through the days ahead, I cannot take a step without my knee giving way, it is riddled with Arthritis, I was going to have a new knee, but was scared in case my Psoriasis attacked my scars again,It had done that before with major problems arising from this flare. where is the help I need, where can I get better medication for the pain, Why can’t I live?

  • Diane T author
    11 months ago

    Jazzy532, I know just what you mean. I have been in pain most of my life and I am still amazed at some of the things doctors tell you to do. How can you exercise when you can’t even get out of bed? How can you even walk when your spine has you on your back? The pain is real and I don’t want to do any of that stuff. I have had doctors tell me to suck it up and that it was in my head!! Really!! I have had fill head to toe psoriasis most of my life and I would rather deal with that than the psoriatic arthritis. The pain never goes away. I have been on 7 biologics that have stop working. I am on one now along with taking strong pain pills. I take them 3 times a day. I don’t like being on so much medication, but I just want some kind of quality of like. Just hang in there and pray it gets better.

    Take care,

    Diane

  • Rojo
    11 months ago

    Diane T thanks for your post. I first started experiencing brain fog three years ago. At different times I thought it was 1) an adverse drug reaction, 2) a vitamin/mineral deficiency or toxicity, 3) some new disease, 4) ageing, 5) all in my head, 6) some or all of the above.

    I now agree 100% with everything you have written here. As I try and think which of the things you wrote of are most important for me, I realize they are all equally important. It’s about adopting a major lifestyle change and accepting the reality of the situation.

    I honestly can’t thank you enough for your post. When I asked pharmacists about drug reactions and interactions the usual answer was, “I haven’t heard of that, and it’s not listed here.” The same for non-rheumatologists. After a while it seems like it’s just me and my “wacky” theories about vitamin supplements, a healthy diet, hydration, and stress management.

  • Diane T author
    11 months ago

    Rojo, brain fog is very real. I worked at a bank and I have to keep a journal of things I have been doing for 30 years. It’s sad and nobody understands what we go through. I am so thankful for technology that I can just carry around a tablet to take notes. Trust me, I know what you mean about our doctors, but I found a great doctor who listens and takes everything I say into consideration. He is also on medical boards, where he has brought up some of the things that I have told him. I tell him all the time; I am a expert at this. I have had this disease for 50 years. Trust me when I tell you these are things you should be looking into. Just hang in there and hope that one day they will find a cure for this disease.

    Thank you,

    Diane

  • Rojo
    11 months ago

    Diane T. You are an awesome advocate and support person for the people in our community. Thank you. Rojo

  • Splash48
    11 months ago

    I just started experiencing this and I thought I was going crazy I didn’t know it had a name brain fog… Ha It’s horrible… Getting confused when you’re out by yourself it’s very disconcerting… I notice sugar will set it off…I thought it was the pills in taking… Thanks for tipping me off to this!

  • Diane T author
    11 months ago

    I know just how you feel. Try to see what your triggers are, it could be sugar, dairy, medication or just about anything.

    Thank you,

    Diane

  • jennyb
    2 years ago

    I have MS and psoriatic arthritis and I have brain fog from both. I can’t always tell which is which. Having cognition problems is very frustrating.

  • Diane T author
    2 years ago

    Hi Brenda – I had been experiencing brain fog for years and thought it was all in my head. Yes, it’s real. You just need to find better ways to cope with it.

    I’m glad my story could help you….

  • Brenda26
    2 years ago

    I can´t believe this is a thing on PsA until I read your post… fot the last week I have lost memories or having brain fog that I don´t remember doing a certain thing and I have had PsA for only a year so I am talking to my doctor about this… Thank you very much!!

  • Diane T author
    2 years ago

    Hi Brenda – I used to think it was a age thing and I was just getting older. I knew it was something else when I would be driving to the store and forget where I was going.

    Yes, ask your doctor about this. It is a real thing.

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