Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) can cause brain fog and memory problems. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by the body’s immune system attacking itself – also known as an autoimmune disease.
Unfortunately, lupus can affect joints, skin, the kidneys, blood cells, the heart, lungs and the brain. When lupus affects the brain is can lead to lupus fog.
What is lupus fog?
Lupus fog is the forgetfulness or fuzzy-headed feeling that can come along with lupus. Lupus fog can consist of memory problems, but it can also include cognitive impairment as well. Concentration, thinking ability, self-expression and memory problems can all be tied to lupus fog.
Unlike other cognition and memory disorders, like dementia, lupus fog does not get worse over time but can be temporarily worse during a lupus flare-up.
It is not fully understood why lupus fog occurs, but it is theorized that factors such as fatigue, stress and depression can all play a role in lupus fog. Another theory is that lupus fog can be a side effect of medications.
Lupus fog symptoms
Symptoms of lupus fog include:
- Lack of concentration or ability to focus
- Impaired ability to recall or remember information
- Difficulty problem solving, organizing information and critical thinking
- Trouble quickly coordinating hand-eye movements
Living with lupus fog
Living with lupus fog can be frustrating and can affect everything from memory to concentration to thinking ability. But with proper coping mechanisms, living with lupus fog is possible. Here are some tips in order to better live with lupus fog.
- Put information in writing in case you cannot recall it later.
- Stay organized.
- Prioritize your daily tasks.
- Say things out loud; it helps with memory recall.
- Time yourself and schedule tasks.
- Play mind games to stretch your memory, like crosswords and other puzzles.
- Maintain healthy habits, such as exercising, eating well and getting proper sleep.
Another helpful tip that can make living with lupus fog easier is being honest with yourself – don’t be hard on yourself when you can’t recall something. Although it can be frustrating, putting yourself down won’t make it any better. Reaching out to others is also important, so they can begin to understand your condition and be more attentive and supportive of your needs. Family and friends can also be of more assistance if they know what exactly is going on. Lastly, speak with your employer and make them aware, so they don’t just believe you’re not doing a good job.
The more open you are about your condition, the less stress and depression you will feel; two factors that can make lupus brain fog worse.