Thinking has become my second job. Never have I had to put so much effort into gathering my thoughts or comprehending the world around me as I do with MS. To say MS has changed my life in so many ways is an understatement!
Of all of my MS symptoms, MS brain fog is right at the top of the list, beside my walking difficulties and fatigue. Symptoms of brain fog include (but are not limited to): a lack of concentration, slow comprehension, memory loss, and (my all-time favorite) my mind going blank mid-sentence during a conversation.
Known clinically as “cognitive changes,” brain fog, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is caused by a “loss of myelin around nerve fibers [which] can cause difficulty with transporting memories to storage areas of the brain or retrieving them from storage areas.” In spite of the fact that that this loss of myelin directly leads to the symptoms associated with brain fog, the NMSS also notes that cognitive rehabilitation can aid in reducing the condition.
I was very glad to read that my brain can be retrained and curiously continued researching the web to find out how.
Several health resources, including the NMSS, recommend that you see your doctor first to address any related issues that you may have, such as depression, sleep issues, or fatigue, as correcting these issues may help clear the fog.
Keeping lists and your calendar up to date, working online puzzles, researching on the internet, reading, and anything that keeps your mind active are all great suggestions!
Memory loss is a problem for me. One issue I have is trouble remembering peoples names that are new to me, so I attach their name to a cartoon character or a famous person. Example: if someone’s name is Homer I equate that person’s name to Homer Simpson. That helps me remember the name the next time I see that person. Plus, it is fun to say, “Oh there’s Homer Simpson.” As long as I don’t slip up and say it to someone’s face!
Brain fog is another inconvenient symptom of MS, but being aware and proactive can help us improve our quality of life!
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