What is ‘brain fog’ and should you be worried?

That ‘foggy’ feeling is common, but you should investigate what might be causing it.

Never ignore ‘brain fog’

Forgetting things is common but if you find yourself experiencing ‘fogginess’ or a lack of mental clarity on a regular basis, you may be suffering from ‘brain fog’.

Brain fog isn’t a medical condition – rather a symptom of medical conditions. It’s a common problem that affects a wide range of people, causing complications at work, school and in relationships.

Brain fog is characterised as a type of cognitive dysfunction. A person with brain fog might experience:

  • memory problems
  • lack of mental clarity
  • trouble concentrating
  • mental fatigue.

There are many reasons why a person might experience brain fog. Identifying the underlying reason why it’s happening is the first step to fixing the problem.


Medical conditions
Medical conditions characterised by fatigue, inflammation or variations in blood glucose levels can lead to brain fog. Conditions can include:

  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • anaemia
  • depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • diabetes
  • migraines
  • hypothyroidism
  • autoimmune diseases (i.e. lupus, arthritis and multiple sclerosis)
  • Sjogren syndrome.

Dehydration and pregnancy can also make it more difficult to recall information and focus properly.

How to diagnose brain fog
There is no single test to diagnose brain fog. If you experience brain fog, a doctor might ask you about your:

  • mental health
  • diet
  • physical activeness
  • whether you are taking medicines or supplements.

Your doctor might also conduct a blood test for you. Blood work can help to detect the following:

  • inflammatory diseases
  • infections
  • abnormal glucose levels
  • poo kidney, liver and thyroid function
  • nutritional deficiencies.

You should also inform your doctor of any other strange symptoms you might be experiencing, such as hair loss, dry skin, weight gain or loss, or brittle nails. These symptoms might be associated with particular conditions, such as hypothyroidism.

How to treat brain fog
Once an underlying cause is determined, treatment can be administered. This will vary depending on the cause. Sometimes, treating brain fog can be as simple as correcting lifestyle habits, switching medicines or improving a nutritional deficiency.

Simple things to try at home include:

  • exercising
  • sleeping enough
  • avoiding caffeine and alcohol
  • strengthening cognitive function
  • increasing protein, fruit, veg and health fats intake
  • managing stress and undertaking enjoyable activities.

Have you ever experienced brain fog? Were you able to identify the cause?


    Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    13th Sep 2018
    Love the image!
    14th Sep 2018
    Currently experiencing brain fog, and blame the extended periods of time I have had to spend in hospital this year due to complications from surgery. 3 general anaesthetics in 2 weeks probably has not helped. My heart failure also makes it hard for me to get oxygen to the lungs, so presumably the brain could also suffer. It's very frustrating and boring too as I am finding it difficult to do the things which keep me active

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