Dysautonomia (Autonomic Dysfunction) Community
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612876 tn?1355518095

Brain fog and memory loss

"You just left it on the . . . where the food was."

Does anyone else wind up saying nonsensical things like this because they get stuck trying to come up with words?  This morning it was something simple--can you believe I couldn't think of the word "table?"  Not only that but, "where the food was" isn't really a good description of table; it's as though I'm groping around in the dark.  

I talked to the doc about my growing senility--this is only one aspect of it--and I am being sent to an expert on memory to be evaluated FINALLY.  It's possible that my brain fog and memory lapses are due to concussions from hitting my head during syncopal episodes.  Other possible culprits are the seizures, the migraines, stress, or the dysautonomia itself I guess.  I realize that I'll get my answer when I see the specialist, but I would like to know if others are having similar problems.

I'm 29 years old, and the onset of the brain fog/mental confusion/memory loss coincided with the onset of the dysautonomia at age 27 (with my first syncope/seizure).  It has gotten much worse over time, and now has many of the characteristics of dementia with old age.  Other examples:

-Called 911 in an emergency.  Couldn't remember own street name to give to operator.  Had to go look at the sign.
-When I forget things like my own address, they aren't just on the tip of my tongue.  They are gone for maybe a half hour or so, unless I go look them up somewhere.  It's not just a momentary "brain fart."  Or I will think I know it but give the zip code from a place I lived 8 years ago and it will seem completely right to me.
-I may tell someone the same thing twice in the same conversation within a span of perhaps 10 minutes, and when they tell me I've done so, I have no recollection of it.
-Someone will tell me something we talked about or did together and say, "remember?"  Uh, no.  Not in the slightest.
-I will tell someone all about what I did yesterday, but it turns out what I am remembering as yesterday actually happened 2 or 3 days ago.

Is this just me because I've had concussions from the syncope, or is it from something like not enough oxygen flow to the brain during episodes of syncope etc. from the dysautonomia and others are having this problem too?
18 Responses
Avatar universal
I went to give someone my phone # and completely had no idea what it was....I had to look on one of my checks to figure it out.
492869 tn?1285022533
"You just left it on the...  Where the food was..."  I definitely say things like that sometimes.  Perhaps it can be attributed to my autism (slower processing) some of the time, but not during a simple one-on-one conversation.  I generally attribute it to either medication side effects, or sleepiness.

I've also had multiple concussions caused by my fainting episodes, and lowered oxygen to my brain.  You really can't expect to think straight when your blood pressure is something like 80/50.  Have you checked your blood pressure during these episodes?  Have you tried supplemental oxygen while you were feeling confused?  I feel almost postictal at times, and the oxygen is really helpful.

Good luck!  Don't worry about these being dementia symptoms, it may all be autonomic.  I worry sometimes too, but there is little point in worrying.  Our bodies are fighting to do what other peoples do automatically.
Avatar universal
I also have these problems - finding words, remembering my address, stuff like that.  I read somewhere that it can be caused by low blood pressure and not enough oxygen to the brain or something like that.  It feels like my thoughts are coming too slowly and I can't find the words to say what I'm saying.  It happens often in the middle of the sentence and I also will often have a sudden feeling of fatigue or lightheadedness at the same time.
Avatar universal
I've also had these problems. I've gotten a bid worriedd  about my brain fog and memory loss. You described exactly what is going on with me. I assume it is from the dysautonomia. My mind was fine  before I got the dysautonomia. A tiny little  bit did improve when the dysautonomia was improved with the medications.
Avatar universal
Has anyone had any vision changes? My vision improved when I was put on medication to help the dysautonomia.
Avatar universal
Yes, I've had vision problems.  My eyes feel like they are camera shutters opening and closing and turning sideways when I'm reading small print sometimes.  And often, it feels like my eyes are shifting side to side really fast so that everything looks like it's wiggling.  This has only started since about a month after I started having symptoms.  Beta blockers didn't help this but I've just started florinef and effexor.  My most noticeable symptom is my body is vibing constantly.  
Beta blockers did nothing for my eye symptoms.
Avatar universal
my husband gets so angry with me because he says that I am air headed all of the time. he asked me a question about something I did 4 -5 days before and it took me about 5 minutes to even remember what I did that day...it was all forgotten.

for those of you that say meds have helped, which ones are you taking?  I only take cymbalta and provigil, but I think that both of those are for my fibromyalgia and not the dysautonomia....oh, I was taking propanolol at night time, but I stopped because I ran out.

Avatar universal
I've been told NOT to stop taking propranolol suddenly, too dangerous.
Anything happen??
Avatar universal
At work while taking phone calls I can't even prosses a phone number some days, or names, and I can barly repeat back information. I feel like I am in a fog and I also have vision problems like a camera trying to focus. I don't recognize words and numbers durring my fog, I can't complete thought prossesses. I am trying to enjoy my hobby of cabinet building and for a while now I can't even comprehend how to measure and cut wood. I'll be thinking of something important I need to do and poof, it disapears out of my mind and I can't remember what I was just thinking of, a great idea just lost... I was diagnosed at 19, have had symptoms since 16 and I am now 23
612876 tn?1355518095
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Avatar universal
While at Mayo I had 5 hours of "cognitive" tests because I forget words like table and say the same thing over in the same conversation like I am "on a loop" and also have vision issues at times which affects my attention (can't really explain that one)
I have several issues, some they think are medication related, some maybe due to autonomic function, some maybe always have been there....I ended up with lots of information and lots of "maybes" so first I am getting off medications that affect maybe have affected cognition.
The good news I was told was there are things that can be done to help.
Good Luck!
Avatar universal
I experience this type of brain fog also... doing things like forgetting how to sign my name, big problems with perceiving time in a linear fashion...etc.  It happened more intensely in my 20s. Now in my 40s, it is much less. I take 2000 mg fish oil daily. I do hot yoga to increase circulation. I take a chinese herb pronounced "he-shau-wu", I am sure to drink plenty of water, try to limit junk food & I definitely feel that this all helps. Siberian ginseng also helped lift the fog but it caused my period to stop. Maybe it would be better for a man.
4034060 tn?1349215611
I have memory problems too, sometimes I tell someone something then 5 min  I tell them again. It might be because of my Epilepsy, but day by day it gets worse. I'm talking to my friends then poss for a min because I forgot how to talk, other times I forget what i'm gonna tell someone, miss spell words I know how to spell and I wonder what's gonna happen next.
Avatar universal
I'm sorry to hear that others are going through this but relieved to know I'm not alone. I have been so worried about my failing memory. I used to be able to read things and remember all of the medical terms, etc...now I can't even remember what I needed to pick up at the grocery store. I forget simple words too!  I saw a paw print of my cat Henry, I couldn't remember which cat was Henry. I'm really starting to think it's more than just the Dysautonomia, or does your memory actually get this bad from Dysautonomia???
Avatar universal
I guess you never figured out what's happening? I started surfing the web because i'm feeling very similar. I was telling someone I had memory issues developing (and getting worse rapidly) and instead of saying 'brain' I said 'resume' - WHAT?! that scared me the most. I also used to absorb everything - little facts, I was very good a trivia - now, I can't remember a conversation I had 20 minutes ago or what I ate for dinner yesterday - it's very scary. I never know if I locked the door on my car, I lose words in conversations all the time - family members will talk about things from when we were growing up and it's like they're talking about a book I never read. I'm only 29 and my doctor tried telling me it's ADD - so they put me on vyvanse - if anything it definitely helped me stay busy but likely worsened my memory.
I don't know what to do - my GP always makes it seem like i'm crazy or a hypochondriac (at least that's how I feel when I tell him things) but, I'm definitely not - i'm otherwise healthy, I don't take any prescriptions (I stopped taking vyvanse), no other illnesses that I know of -- it's driving me crazy because I often feel so stupid and I'm a well educated individual.
I work for a cardiologist that specializes in Dysautonomia in Covington, La. It is very real and can be managed.
Did you find any answers? I've been experiencing this on and off for about 7 months. At times it's almost debilitating. Sometimes I feel like I can carry on an intelligent conversation as I can't get the right words out. My head feels cloudy... like the minutes after you wake from a nice nap, except it doesn't go away. It does seem to be worse in the mornings and not as bad in the afternoon/evening.
Avatar universal
Same here, I'll say something to someone and then in about 5minutes if that person brings up that subject or even says exactly what I said, I have recollection. Or when I'm speaking I say a word that's similar to what I meant to say but obviously a different word.
Avatar universal
I do.. l have a cocktail of symptoms, medicines and no real diagnosis. One big thing going on for me is that
Lost word or phrase thing that you have going on. I
Guess that l have chalked it up to " low blood pressure,
Not enough blood going to the brain = some brain damage over time... l am victim of that especially with
Having such a low activity lifestyle.. and full medicine routine.Hitting my head made it much worse. I knocked out 3 cranial nerves. Double vision is a challenge.
Avatar universal
I forgot how to cut a tomato the other day.  I feel you...
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