long covid brain damage is not a medical diagnosis, but rather a description that patients tend to use for their symptoms. Brain fog is what doctors call "cognitive dysfunction." This describes problems with closely related tasks such as attention, information processing, memory, thinking and reasoning, and understanding language.
A feeling like being surrounded by a thick fog, not being able to fully understand ideas, feeling confused or disoriented, having difficulty concentrating or recalling memories. Patients describe the experience of brain fog as a decline in memory and concentration.
Brain fog can make even simple tasks like grocery shopping very difficult: navigating a parking lot, remembering a list of items to buy, switching focus between products and prices, and reading ingredients can be confusing , overwhelmed and exhausted.
Brain fog can be unpleasant in the short term, but over time it can make working and maintaining social activities difficult. Brain fog can also take a toll on relationships and change the way we see ourselves personally and professionally. In particular, how brain fog affects their ability to return to work and relationships.
While the symptoms of brain fog may be similar to those experienced by people with Alzheimer's disease and other age-related conditions, brain fog can affect people of any age. Brain fog doesn't usually get worse over time, and it may not last forever.
Brain fog is common in people recovering from traumatic brain injury, experiencing persistent post-concussion symptoms, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, HIV, orthostatic tachycardia syndrome , lupus, Lyme disease syndrome after treatment, and as a side effect - the effect of chemotherapy. People with celiac disease may even experience post covid fog after consuming gluten. It has also been reported as a symptom of menopause.
What causes brain fog?
There is no single test for brain fog, making it difficult to diagnose. While a combination of tests is available, formal testing may not always help because symptoms look different for everyone. People with COVID have more problems with attention and executive function. Cognitive deficits associated with brain fog have been reported to be worse in people with more severe COVID infections.
The conflicting results in brain fog studies may be due to brain function assessed by different tests. People with mild and severe cases of COVID may experience problems with processing speed, reasoning, language and overall performance, but not memory. So studies using memory tests are unlikely to show the effects of brain fog.
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