Brain Health

Brain Fog & Autoimmune Disease

There are many causes of brain fog, but autoimmune diseases are one of them.

Brain fog is the inability to think clearly or remember things that you would normally easily recall. Although there is no published definition of brain fog, people describe it as not being able to think clearly and access information that would normally be easy for them to recall. It’s a feeling of mental fog clouding a person’s ability to think and function making people feel detached, discouraged and sometimes even depressed. Brain fog is not yet acknowledged as a clinical diagnosis because it’s more of a subjective feeling rather than something easily tested for.

Autoimmune Diseases Causing Brain Fog

There are many causes of brain fog, but Autoimmune diseases are one of them.  The common types of autoimmune diseases are:

  • Alopecia areata – the immune system attacks hair follicles causing patchy hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis – the immune system attacks liver cells and causes symptoms of fatigue, yellowing of the skin and an enlarged liver.
  • Celiac disease – a disease in which people can’t tolerate gluten, a substance found in wheat, rye, and barley. Can result in abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue and diarrhea.
  • Diabetes Type 1 – a disease in which the immune system attacks the cells that make insulin, so it is no longer produced. Early signs are constant thirst, frequent urination and weight loss.
  • Graves’ disease – occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid, causing it to make too much thyroid hormone, resulting in insomnia, weight loss and muscle weakness.
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome – The immune system attacks the nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord with the rest of the body. Can result in muscle weakness, tingling and in some cases, paralysis.
  • Hashimoto’s disease – causes the thyroid to not make enough thyroid hormone. Resulting in weight gain, fatigue and sensitivity to cold.
  • Hemolytic anemia – the immune system destroys red blood cells causing fatigue, yellowing skin and shortness of breath.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease – includes Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis which are caused when the immune system attacks the lining of the intestines resulting in abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and diarrhea.
  • Multiple Sclerosis – the immune system attacks the nerve cells causing muscle weakness, poor coordination, blindness and muscle spasms.
  • Psoriasis – a skin condition produced by the immune system making skin cells reproduce too rapidly, causes redness and irritation as well as thick, flaky, silver-white patches
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – antibodies attach to the linings of joints and surrounding tissues, resulting in pain and inflammation.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus – the antibodies attach to tissues throughout the body and can affect skin, blood cells, nerves, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.
  • Scleroderma – the connective tissue is compromised, causing changes in skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs.
  • Sjögren’s syndrome – destroys the glands that produce tears and saliva causing dry eyes and mouth; may affect kidneys and lungs.

Click here to learn more about treating autoimmune disease at LifeWorks Wellness Center.

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Helpful Brain Fog Resources

  • Brain Fog - our complete page on brain fog treatment.