What is FibroFog
Have you forgotten where you put your keys again? Having trouble remembering what you were supposed to do this afternoon? Do you have difficulty finding the right words to use to express yourself? If you are experiencing some or all of these memory problems you may be suffering from fibrofog.
Fibrofog refers to a variety of cognitive impairments that fibromyalgia sufferers experience with the disorder. Fibrofog can be one of the most stressful and upsetting fibromyalgia symptoms. If you know someone with fibromyalgia syndrome or if you are suffering from the illness, keep an eye out for the indicators of fibrofog.
What is Fibrofog?
Fibrofog is a term given to the variety of cognitive problems that many fibromyalgia sufferers face during their illness. Fibrofog encompasses memory loss, difficulties using language, and difficulties with learning. These symptoms tend to descend in a haze or "fog," around the sufferer. Fibrofogs can occur at any time and can vary in intensity when they do occur. Fibrofogs tend to be at their most severe during flare ups in pain.
Fibrofog affects about both women and men who have fibromyalgia pain, though it tends to hit women more often. Women between the ages of 30 and 50 are most likely to be affected by fibrofog. Episodes of fibrofog typically last only a few days, though sometimes severe fibrofog can last for weeks or even months.
Symptoms of Fibrofog
Fibrofog is one of the most common yet unrecognized symptoms of fibromyalgia. If you have fibromyalgia signs and symptoms it is important to be aware of fibrofog so that you can seek appropriate treatment and manage your illness more effectively. Some symptoms of fibrofog include:
• short term memory loss
• difficulty remembering where you put things
• difficulty remembering plans
• difficulty with language, including trouble holding conversations, understanding conversations, and expressing thoughts
• difficulty finding the "right" word to use in conversation
• trouble remembering simple numbers
• transposing letters and numbers
• trouble concentrating and focusing
• trouble retaining new information
Causes of Fibrofog
The causes of memory loss and fibrofog are as yet undetermined; however, a number of factors could be at the root of these cognitive impairments. It is apparent that there is no real problem with the mental capacities of people suffering from fibrofog. Instead, there must be underlying problems that cause the brain to be unable to complete memory functions.
Sleep Deprivation: Sleep disorders are one of the primary fibromyalgia signs and symptoms. Lack of adequate sleep can affect the brain’s ability to produce enough of the neurochemical serotonin, which aids in laying down memory.
Decreased Blood Flow: Studies show that fibromyalgia disability can cause decreased blood flow to certain areas of the brain responsible for creating short term memories. This lack of blood flow may prevent the brain from adequately creating new memories.
Chronic Pain: The chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia may actually inhibit the brain’s ability to create memories. Processing pain signals takes up a lot of the brain’s time and energy, especially in someone with fibromyalgia. This excessive pain may therefore reduce the amount of time the brain spends on trying to form new memories. Pain also produces large amounts of stress which can be one of the causes of short term memory loss.
Depression: A large percentage of people with fibromyalgia also report that they suffer from anxiety and depression. Depression and memory loss definitely seem to be linked. Depression lowers the levels of serotonin in the brain, preventing new memories from being laid down. Low levels of serotonin are also linked with learning difficulties.
Effects of Fibrofog on Fibromyalgia
Fibrofog tends to have negative effects on fibromyalgia symptoms and the course of the illness. Fibrofog can cause people with fibromyalgia to forget important self-care techniques including stretching and exercise. This can cause the pain of fibromyalgia to become worse.
In a recent study involving people with and without fibromyalgia, those with fibromyalgia reported more trouble with memory, concentration, mental confusion, and speaking. Patients with fibrofog also complained of more pain, increased fatigue, and more difficulty sleeping.