Reducing “brain fog” for people with RA
Rheumatoid arthritis does not only affect the joints, but also other parts of the body. One of the symptoms may be what many call brain fog. But there are lifestyle changes and treatments to deal with this mental fatigue that can lead to difficulty concentrating and impaired memory.
Many people with RA find they have problems often called brain fog, which can mean difficulty concentrating, impaired memory and a general feeling of mental fatigue.
In 2013, a study was published which had examined 115 people with RA. The research showed that RA is related to an increased risk of impaired thinking. The link was stronger in people receiving cortisone drugs as RA treatment and those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol. (1)
Another study, from 2018, examined how chronic inflammation in RA affects the brain. The study used a magnetic camera to examine 54 people with RA. The results showed a link between inflammation caused by RA and changes in activity between different parts of the brain. Fatigue, pain and impaired ability to think could be linked to these changes. (2)
It could also be that the chronic pain experienced by many people with RA causes fatigue which in turn leads to decreased focus and fatigue. And because pain can also interfere with sleep, sleep deprivation can also be part of the problem.
How can we ease brain fog?
There are both treatments and lifestyle changes that can help people with RA reduce their brain fog.
Various medicines can reduce symptoms. Including DMARDs and biological products. Talk to your doctor for advice on your medication.
More and better sleep. Having a good sleep provides better conditions for brain fog, there are also other benefits. Read more here: https://www.elsa.science/en/blog/2019/12/17/good-sleep-can-help-people-with-ra/
Regular exercise. The important thing is not what you do, but do something that works for the day.
A good balance between activity and recovery. Finding the balance is A and O. What works for you and what do you prefer to have for recovery in everyday life? It can be anything from a walk in the woods, a cup of tea book and blanket on the couch, meditation and rest.