Did you know that 60% of lupus patients experience some type of memory problem? Whether it’s an inability to help their children finish their math homework, missing items on the grocery list, or misplacing things, dates, names, and events, “Lupus Fog” is often responsible.
“Lupus Fog” is the forgetfulness or fuzzy-headed feeling that is often associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE and can often be considered one of the most frustrating symptoms of the illness. However, lupus fog is often misunderstood. It does not strictly pertain to memory problems. It also refers to cognitive difficulties. Lupus fog can affect your concentration, cause memory problems, confusion, and difficulty expressing yourself. These symptoms, like many, often worsen with flares.
Although managing lupus can be extremely difficult, there are tricks and tips that can help you cope with your lupus fog!
Write Things Down. Instead of trying to retain information in your head (and failing), write down what you need to remember! Or download a good note taking app that can be accessed on your phone and your computer.
Stay Organized. Keep a daily planner so your notes aren’t on random scraps of paper. Consult the planner regularly throughout the day. Create a schedule or a manageable to-do list (even if it’s just one specific goal) for every day.
Prioritize. Divide your tasks into two separate categories: things you need to do now and things you can do later. Then solely do the things you need to do now.
Say it Out Loud. Things seem to stay with us in the short-term memory if you speak them aloud. When you meet someone new, use their name in the conversation a few times. After meetings at work, go over the main points aloud- it helps solidify your memory and others can fill in things you might have missed.
Sharpen Your Memory. Play word games and do crossword puzzles. It’s a fun way to stretch your memory!
Take Care of Yourself. If you have lupus, you need to respect your body. Reducing stress, getting enough sleep at night, regular exercise, and taking naps throughout the day can alleviate lupus fog symptoms.
Don’t Battle it Alone. Your physician and other experts can teach you ways to work around the cognitive symptoms.
When managing your lupus fog it is critical that you be open with your family and friends and be honest with yourself. If your lupus fog symptoms are mild, you may not have to alter your routine much. However, if your lupus fog is severe or long-lasting, you may have to take necessary steps to change your life and career.