Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. We’re glad you’re joining us. Today’s topic is one that we are hearing a lot about here lately, brain fog. Joining me this morning is Dr. Beth Milligan, one of our doctors here at AFMC. Good morning, Dr. Milligan.
Dr. Beth Milligan: Good morning.
MR: Okay. Brain fog. Let’s start from the beginning. What is it?
BM: Well, first of all the term, it’s not really a medical diagnosis. It’s actually just a term that people have come up with a describe how they feel when there’s they feel foggy in their brain.
MR: So, this is a real thing.
BM: Yeah, pretty much. I would say it is. It’s a term that people use when they just don’t feel right, when their brain isn’t functioning the way they normally feel. They feel cloudy when they’re trying to think.
MR: So, what could be some factors that might cause brain fog?
BM: Well, what we found that usually chronic medical problems can actually create that make it worse. For example, diabetes, people undergoing cancer treatment, or any major medical procedure can actually feel more confused at times? And they’re thinking just isn’t the way they normally think.
MR: Does brain fog have any correlation with age? Does it get worse with age? Does everyone suffer from it or is it unique?
BM: Well, there’s a normal amount they say of fogginess you might say. I don’t really like to use that word but as we age, you can get normal kinds of it. For example. You can go about your day and suddenly forget the name of your friends or a date and that might pop into your head. And that’s kind of where we might say is fogginess or maybe doing too many things at once and create that. And it seems to happen more so as we age, but some people are just fine, but it can be normal and not anything to worry about.
MR: You make a good point and I want to go back to it. When you said just a moment ago about trying to juggle too much. And we all hear about multitasking and how we just need to do more and get things done at all costs. Could the multitasking? Could, could we really have maybe too many tabs open in our brain that somehow it causes the fogginess that we experience?
BM: Some people thrive off multitasking, but a lot of us and I’ll say it myself working three different jobs at times. I can feel a lot more stress and as you feel more stress, that’s when you start noticing that you can get confused or get foggy at times and you can be quite frightening, but it’s not really something to worry about. You just need to slow down and stop multitasking and focus on what you’re working on.
MR: So, then my next question would be how can we minimize brain fog? Does it correlate with prioritizing sleep or eating a healthy diet or getting exercise or as you said, slowing down?
BM: You actually answered the question right there. It’s a complex answer and to focus on what is causing your problem. For example, if it happens acutely and you suddenly have brain fog that you don’t normally have, that’s actually a medical reason to go seek professional help and say what’s going on and they’ll help you focus. And you know, it could be a chronic medical problem. But perhaps it’s slowly going on. Then you need to look at it and you can take care of yourself. And one thing is, are you sleeping properly? Are you eating properly? Are you missing meals and maybe getting your blood sugar dropping down? Are you getting enough exercise? Are you just taking care of yourself?
MR: Could brain fog be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s or dementia? Some people might be fearful if they are experiencing brain fog that this could be baby steps down a slippery slope.
BM: Unless it acutely happened the majority of time that brain fog and cognitive decline that you see with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they’re different completely. So you don’t need to be afraid. You’re not having dementia Alzheimer’s because you forgot your friend’s child’s name.
MR: Can our phones or our screens have any impact or play any role in brain fog?
BM: They’ve actually shown that people who spend a lot of time on their phones or any device staring at it for long periods of time can actually, with that white backlight can actually increase the chance of getting a little bit of brain fog because when you look away it’s really hard to have your eyes adjust. And so that’s actually been linked with actually increase in brain fog or all of those things that go in that category.
MR: So, anything else that we need to know on the subject of brain fog if we are experiencing it?
BM: Well, one of the things that that I read as I researched this topic was, they say you just need to slow down and start focusing on the now. We’re all rushing in multiple different directions and getting stimulated way beyond what we need to be. And people need to take 10 minutes and just focus on the moment they’re in, and just relax. If it’s stimulus, get away from it. Go to a quiet room and let your mind think about the now and the moment you’re in and just let your body calm down. And that’s probably one of the best things you can do when you start noticing you’re having these things to happen.
MR: What great advice for so many ailments slow down and being present.
MR: Okay, Dr. Milligan, thank you so much for joining us today.
BM: Thank you.