It’s not all in your head. Dealing with the stress of cancer brain fog
by Katie O'Grady | Aug 29, 2022 | Blog |
Patients who undergo cancer treatment can develop something called cancer brain fog. Some patients know it as chemo brain; however, this type of brain fog can happen with all types of treatments, not just chemo. Cancer brain fog can be very frustrating especially when trying to live a normal life.
What are the symptoms of cancer brain fog?
Some signs and symptoms of cancer brain fog are:
Trouble remembering words or remembering a conversation
Taking longer to complete a task
Short attention span
What are the causes of cancer brain fog?
There are many possible factors that can induce cancer brain fog
Stress- when you are diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment you may feel an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety. Sometimes these feelings can turn to depression which can contribute to that brain fog feeling and having a hard time remembering. When your brain is stressed, it spends all its time worrying and using energy that it can be hard to perform normal everyday tasks.
Cancer- some cancers produce chemicals that can mess with your memory as well as cancer that begin or have spread to the brain and can change the way you think.
Cancer treatment– higher radiation and chemotherapy doses might make it difficult to remember things. If you are receiving radiation on your brain that can cause an increased risk of cancer brain fog and difficulty remembering.
Dehydration– your body is made up of over 70% water and every organ depends on it, especially your brain. Water gives your brain the energy to go through all its processes throughout your life including memory and thought. When receiving treatment, it is even more important to stay hydrated due to the treatment and potential side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, all of which can raise the risk of dehydration.
If your brain loses just 2% of its body water, you may feel foggy, have short-term memory issues, difficulty concentration, and difficulties with learning
Here are some tips you can try at home to help minimize cancer brain fog
Have a healthy, well-rounded diet- Some examples of brain friendly foods are fatty fish like salmon, blueberries, broccoli, nuts, and seeds
7–8-hour sleep schedule- Another issue that can contribute to cancer brain fog is exhaustion and a lack of sleep. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep is critical for recovering and rebuilding your body after cancer treatment. If you are having difficulty sleeping due to stress or certain medications, try taking naps throughout the day to compensate for your sleep loss. Consult your doctor if your lack of sleep persists or worsens.
Exercise your body- believe it or not, exercise can be a great way to get some relief from cancer brain fog. Simply exercising your body in a way that raises your heart rate can get your endorphins flowing. Exercise reduces stress, improves blood circulation, increases blood flow to the brain, and enhances cognitive function.
Exercise your brain- Testing your cognitive strength is just as vital as training your body. Some ways to do this are crossword puzzles, memory games, jigsaw puzzles, playing an instrument or learning something new.
Stay well-hydrated- As soon as you wake up, drink 12 to 16 ounces of water for optimal brain function. Furthermore, always have a water bottle with you so you can sip water throughout the day. It is recommended that you drink about ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for every pound you weigh. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs. you should be drinking about 75-150 ounces (about 4.4 L) a day. This number would increase or decrease depending on the climate, how much you exercise and the amount of stress in your life.
Take enterade® for hydration (and gastrointestinal) benefits
enterade is a plant-based drink that helps relieve dehydration that can lead to cancer brain fog. 88% saw improvement in dehydration in a clinical study. enterade has a proprietary blend of amino acids and is clinically proven to hydrate the body better than water. enterade also reduces gastrointestinal side effects of cancer treatment like diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, and unwanted weight loss. enterade works with your body to repair and protect the healthy cells in your gut from the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy.
Do you have any recommendations for dealing with cancer brain fog that you would like to share?
Chemo brain issues