Tag Archives: brain fog

What exactly is POTS!!!!!!!

WHAT IS POTS?

Dysautonomia is an umbrella-term used to define conditions caused by a malfunctioning autonomic nervous system. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a form of Dysautonomia. POTS is most often seen in women of child-bearing age but can and does affect people of all different ages, genders, and races. Just like all chronic illnesses, the degree of severity can range from mild to completely disabling. Approximately 25% of patients with POTS cannot work, go to school, or keep up with daily tasks due to their condition. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for every bodily function you do not have to think about at this very moment. You do not have to tell your heart to beat, nor do you have to instruct your lungs to inhale or exhale, as both are done automatically. With POTS, there is dysfunction with these automatic functions. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for so many bodily functions which is why no two patients with POTS are ever exactly the same.

The symptoms seen in POTS can vary greatly but an increase in 30+ bpm (40+ in adolescents), or a HR that goes above 120bpm, within the first 10 minutes of standing is seen in all patients. This increase in heart rate is responsible for the “T” in POTS: Tachycardia. Tachycardia is defined as an abnormally high heart rate. The average resting heart rate is anywhere from 60-90 (some athletes experience bradycardia, or low heart rate). This average resting heart rate would remain the same when going from sitting to standing in a healthy individual, or would change slightly. With POTS, the heart rate increases as the body’s way of trying to compensate for the blood that is starting to pool in the lower extremities. Our heart rates increase to try to work extra hard to pump our blood back to our heads, with little success.

This increase in heart rate is diagnostic criteria for POTS and is seen with or without a decrease in blood pressure. It is a common myth that patients with POTS always have low blood pressure but that’s not accurate. In fact, the increase in heart rate can be accompanied with a stable blood pressure, a drop in blood pressure, or even an increase in blood pressure. Orthostatic hypotension is a different form of Dysautonomia in which the blood pressure drops when standing but the heart rate remains the same.

Although POTS is often characterized as a fainting disorder, it can more accurately be described as a presyncope (the feeling of lightheadedness, dizziness, and confusion experienced right before one faints) condition. In fact, fainting and a decrease in blood pressure are not diagnostic criteria for POTS.
POTS was termed in 1993 but several medical and historical documents describe patients with POTS symptoms under different diagnoses including “soldier’s heart.” Current research is suggesting that POTS is an autoimmune condition. An autoimmune condition means that the body’s immune system is attacking the body itself instead of intruding threats. More research is necessary in order to understand more about POTS and eventually find a cure!

For me personally, I have experienced all the symptoms, but first started with Vertigo and ear pain, hearing loss, visual changes, dizziness, nausea vomiting, Took 57 Dr’s to correctly diagnose me correctly, Started with autoimmune disease of the ear, then it seemed it snow balled out of control as if the autoimmune disease was attacking my Brain and then my body. I had Chemo with zero results and IVIG which is intravenous immunoglobulin for 9 months 5 days a week 7 hours a day. Didn’t work! So as of now there is no cure just symptom control.

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Eight common warning signs of Gluten Intolerance!

Eight Common Warning Signs Of Gluten Intolerance
By Barbara Diamond
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Sure, the word “gluten” has become somewhat of a buzzword lately — but gluten intolerance isn’t just a fad.

Despite what many people may think, gluten intolerance isn’t a food allergy and does not signify celiac disease. Rather, it’s a condition in your gut, and it can have a negative impact on one’s overall lifestyle and well-being.

According to Food Renegade, “undigested gluten proteins (prevalent in wheat and other grains) hang out in your intestines and are treated by your body like a foreign invader, irritating your gut and flattening the microvilli along the small intestine wall. Without those microvilli, you have considerably less surface area with which to absorb the nutrients from your food.”

We know that debilitating pain, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating are surefire signs of a serious gastrointestinal condition — but when looking at gluten intolerance, many of these universal signs may sound quite general and vague. However, those who remain undiagnosed may continue to eat gluten for the rest of their lives, putting themselves at risk for autoimmune and other diseases, along with a wide array of exhausting, frustrating, and uncomfortable symptoms.

Scroll down to see eight common signs of gluten intolerance, and please make sure to consult your doctor if you’re experiencing severe forms of any of the following symptoms.

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1. Stomach Pain
1. Stomach Pain
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

You know what they say: Listen to your gut.

Digestive issues are perhaps the most obvious sign of gluten intolerance. After eating foods containing gluten, you may often experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. According to Digestion Relief Center, eating foods that contain gluten can damage the lining of the small intestine, and can lead to poor absorption of minerals, vitamins, and most of the food you eat.
2. Dizziness
2. Dizziness
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Many people with gluten intolerance experience brain fog, disorientation, and a strange feeling of being off-balance after consuming foods made with gluten — but they fail to connect the dots.

That frequent feeling of cloudiness isn’t normal, and by eliminating gluten from your diet, you may feel that cloud lifted. Some people have actually seen a decrease in vertigo attacks after cutting gluten from their diet.
3. Mood Swings
3. Mood Swings
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Think about it… If your gut is unhappy with the foods you eat, then your brain will be, too. People with gluten intolerance often find themselves unexplainably irritable, anxious, or upset.

The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 diseases caused or exacerbated by eating gluten, which included depression and anxiety.
4. Chronic Migraine
4. Chronic Migraine
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Headaches are highly common for people with gluten intolerance. While it’s not associated with one specific type of headache, the pattern typically occurs within 30 to 60 minutes after eating.

Frequent migraines can also lead to blurry vision and pain around the eye sockets.
5. Itchy Skin
5. Itchy Skin
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

When your intestines have trouble processing gluten, they become inflamed, which can outwardly “reveal” itself through the skin. That’s why gluten sensitivity is often associated to skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. The immune system responds to an unhappy digestive system by creating antibodies that can cause dry, itchy skin.

These symptoms may result in many sleepless nights spent scratching at your knees, elbows, fingers, and/or shins.
6. Fibromyalgia
6. Fibromyalgia
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It affects about 4 percent of the U.S. population, and mostly women.

According to many health professionals, avoiding gluten can alleviate fibromyalgia. As Medicine Net reports, rheumatology experts like Alex Shikhman, M.D., believe the diversity of dietary approaches may have less to do with the impact on fibromyalgia, and more to do with treating a secondary, possibly undiagnosed illness. “When patients are helped by a specific dietary measure, it is often because of the presence of a secondary condition that does have a recognized response to diet. And when you take care of that, you do get some relief from all the symptoms. You feel better overall.”

Makes sense, right?
7. Chronic Fatigue
7. Chronic Fatigue
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

It also makes total sense that if your body is out of whack and your mind is up and down, you’d also feel tired and exhausted. Even if you get eight to nine hours of sleep, you may still wake up feeling drained; this can signify a much bigger problem.

When your body is always inflamed and spending its energy on trying to deal with unwanted gluten proteins, then your energy will be spent much quicker and easier than normal.
8. Lactose Intolerance
8. Lactose Intolerance
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Gluten and dairy intolerance have very similar symptoms, and sometimes the two go hand-in-hand. This is probably the most surprising sign of gluten intolerance, but it’s a big one.

If lactose is already a dietary issue for you, then chances are gluten is, too. There’s a specific type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products that can trigger digestive issues and add on to the already uncomfortable symptoms of gluten intolerance. Dairy foods are also a common trigger for acid reflux, which is also linked to gluten intolerance.

Please SHARE this important information with all those who may have been experiencing symptoms!

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My experience with Brain fog.

For people who don’t understand Brain fog, I will tell you a little about what I have dealt with.  Brain fog to me, feels like someone has erased your brain.   You can be driving down the street and all of a sudden not know where you are going or where you are, you can be in a conversation and your mind just freezes and the you no longer remember what the conversation is about, If someone give me a name of someone, something I have to write it down or It’s gone in seconds.  If it’s not written down I won’t remember.  I can be in the process of a project and right in the middle forget what I am doing, it’s in my brain but I can’t seem to retrieve the information.

If I am tired, forget it, I may not remember where I am at or how to get home.  So I plan my day around the morning getting my stuff done, because as the day goes on the memory get’s worse and I am home.  I try to have my family drive me around so I don’t get lost, I can tell you how scary it is being in a car and not knowing where you are.  It’s embarrassing,  Forget finding my car in a parking lot.  That’s like finding a needle in a hay stack.

If any one else has your story, please share so we can try to understand it better or understand our family or friends invisible illness better.

Kelly

 

 

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Helping people with Brain Fog.

Productivity Tricks Brain Fog

My mind isn’t what it used to be.

It’s a weird thing for a 28-year-old to have to say, but unfortunately it’s true.

There was a time when productivity was a part of me and I didn’t have to make difficult decisions on how to spend my energy. There was a time when I had energy…

But no longer. Chronic illness changed all the rules. I’m not even playing the same game anymore, but some things remain the same. I still have dreams and aspirations. I still want to be successful and be happy and loved. I can still manage to get work done on my own schedule.

It’s just all so much harder now because I suffer from Meniere’s disease, and Meniere’s, like so many other chronic illnesses, causes a kind of cognitive impairment called brain fog.

In a lot of ways, brain fog is hard to describe, and experiences can vary from one illness to another. But for me, brain fog is a frustrating clouding of consciousness. It makes it hard for me to focus and concentrate, and as a consequence my work and productivity suffers. It also affects my memory. I often forget why I walk into rooms, and I frequently have trouble recalling words.

It is incredibly pervasive problem, too. The number of chronic health conditions that cause brain fog is simply staggering. From autoimmune disorders, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Chronic Pain to Vestibular Disorders, Chronic Migraine, Crohn’s Disease, and Depression, just to name a few. It’s a problem that affects literally hundreds of millions of people around the world.

If you are used to be being a productive person, brain fog will take the wind from your sails. The fuzzy feeling of fatigue and lack of motivation that many people experience can make it nearly impossible to accomplish anything. It can be hard to participate in daily life when your mental energy levels are constantly depleted.

Productivity and illness are two words that clearly don’t belong together, but fortunately, over the years I have found helpful strategies for improving my productivity and getting more work done.

Write it all down:

The first rule of brain fog is to write everything down. In the past, I’ve written about ways to improve your memory. It’s an incredibly helpful practice but also quite difficult. A simpler solution is to just write everything down.

I keep stacks of index cards, pads of Post-it notes, and small notepads all over my house. It can be hard to organize all of the scraps of paper, but I don’t have to worry anymore about forgetting an idea, an appointment, or meeting my responsibilities.

I generally stick to several simple note taking strategies. For random ideas, and general note taking, I use 3”x5” index cards. I find that the small size keeps my notes concise and to the point. It also makes it easy to carry around.

For keeping lists, and doing creativity exercises, I use small notepads. My favorite of which is a product called the “Dotpad” made by the French stationary company, Rhodia.

I also use Post-It notes, though primarily for reminders. If there is something I need to remember, I write it down on a 3”x3” post it note and stick it to the place where I will need to remember something specific. Another good trick I’ve found is to stick post-it notes to the back of my cell phone. I do this with anything important that I need to remember in the near future. I keep a pad of post-it notes next to my bed for this exact reason. If I think of something while brushing my teeth or falling asleep, I immediately write it down and stick it to the back of my cellphone to make sure I remember it, and remember to read it in the morning.

My Desk

Keep a fixed routine:

One of the most powerful productivity tricks I’ve found is to keep a routine. When a routine becomes a habit through repetition, the brain uses less energy to accomplish task. Through a process known as “chunking”, the brain turns a complex routine into a single chunk of information, allowing us to execute a complicated set of actions on auto pilot. It’s a way for our brains to conserve energy, and it pervades our lives. According to a paper published in 2006 by a Duke University researcher, up to 40% of our daily actions are not conscious decisions we make, but automatically executed habits.

For someone with a chronic illness, you can use this to your advantage. If you follow a fixed daily routine, over time you will have more and more mental energy available to put toward the work you need to do. It will allow you to be more productive.

For me personally, I tend to go to sleep, wake up, exercise, meditate, and eat, at the same times every day. I also have a fixed morning routine. By the time I need to get to work and be productive, I usually haven’t had to make any decisions that day or waste any energy.

Manage priorities and keep an I-did-it list instead of a to-do list:

I sometimes use to-do lists, but on a daily basis, I try to focus more on priority management. On most days I tend to have a lot of relatively unimportant tasks to accomplish, and one or two that are priorities. But because I almost never have the energy to finish everything on my to-do lists, it’s incredibly important for me to know which tasks to focus on first. As long as I can address one priority, I can feel like I’ve accomplished something important for the day.

Also, instead of keeping a to-do list, it’s often far more rewarding to keep an I-did-it list. I find a list of my accomplishments to be a greater motivator then an unfinished to-do list. The latter causes anxiety while the former inspires hope and momentum.

Find your most productive time of day:

You may not realize it, but everyone has a time of day when they are the most productive. For me, it’s after I finish my morning routine, roughly an hour after I wake up. If I have something important to do, I make sure to work on it during this time. On my most challenging days, when my brain fog and fatigue are at their worst, I can often at least get something simple done during this time. My energy has no guarantees, but I am able to get the most important things done by leveraging my most productive time of day. Take time to experiment and find out which time of the day you have the most energy and are most productive.

Get rid of distractions:

This may seem like a simple suggestion, but in reality it’s quite hard to put into practice. With the rise of social media, mobile devices, and web based entertainment, we face more distractions than ever before. For someone with a chronic illness, these distractions can rob us of the little bit of productivity we have left.

When you need to be productive, it takes time and energy to get into the mental space needed to complete a task. Every time you get distracted, you have to start over and re-engage with whatever you’re working on. It’s not always obvious though, and until I started writing, I didn’t realize how much time I was wasting.

For example, while writing this article, I’ve received five emails, two text messages, three phone calls, and four Facebook notifications. And every single one has disrupted my mental flow. Each time, it takes me a while to get back into the zone and sometimes, I never do.

Like many of you, I am addicted to my phone. But when I need to be productive I try to force myself to turn it off. I close my web browser and listen to ambient music to drown out any distracting background noise. It makes a huge difference.

I also try to keep an organized workspace. It may not be as problematic as a smart phone, but a cluttered working environment can be a distraction and a source of stress. I find that when I keep my office clean and organized, I am able to focus better and be more productive.

Stop working and go for a walk:

Sometimes the best way to be productive is to stop working and go for a walk. I get easily overwhelmed when I have a lot of work to do and I’m feeling brain fogged and fatigued. Sometimes I try to just push through it, but that usually makes me feel worse.

When the frustration starts to build, I always go for a walk. There’s something about walking that just seems to stimulate the mind. I find it boosts my creativity, and works incredibly well to reduce brain fog.

Walking is also all that’s needed for your brain to start releasing endorphins, your body’s “feel good” neurochemicals. Ever hear someone refer to a “runner’s high”? They’re talking about endorphins. The release of endorphins causes your stress levels to go down and your feeling of satisfaction to go up. If you are feeling brain fogged, the endorphins released during a nice long walk will help you feel better.

Conclusion:

All of these strategies have helped me cope with brain fog and improve my productivity, but I still have not been able to eliminate brain fog from my life, try as I might. I am, however, often able to mitigate it in the moment, and if I can be productive, get my work done, and meet my responsibilities when it matters most, then the end result is ultimately the same.

You can learn to cope with your brain fog, too. No matter what chronic illness or condition you face, you can learn take back your daily life, one minute of focus at a time.

Written by Mind over  Menieres.

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