Menopause Brain Fog or Dementia? What’s the Difference?

Menopause Brain Fog or Dementia? 

What’s the Difference? 

 

 

 

 

Menopause-related brain fog refers to cognitive symptoms experienced by women during perimenopause frequently related to problems with memory and attention. They may report new difficulties with word-finding or recall; remembering names, stories, or numbers; losing their train of thought; distractibility; forgeting intentions such as why they entered a specific room; or switching between tasks. Brain fog can be exacerbated in women reporting vasomotor symptoms, especially mood changes or difficulty sleeping. Fortunately, studies demonstrate that cognitive performance stays within normal limits for most women in perimenopause despite symptoms of brain fog, and their brain fog usually subsides after menopause.

 

How do you know your memory problems are related to perimenopause? Brain fog has also been reported in long-haul COVID-19 disease survivors. Both perimenopause sex hormone changes and the SARS-Cov-2 virus may induce symptoms of memory loss and impaired concentration. A distinguishing characteristic of the SARS-Cov-2 virus is executive skills dysfunction. Executive functioning enables adaptable thinking, planning, self-monitoring, self-control, working memory, time management, and organization. Brain fog in perimenopause is NOT associated with executive skills dysfunction.

 

 

 

 

Women in perimenopause experiencing brain fog may be concerned they are getting early signs of dementia.

 

Dementia is rare in women under age 65, and the symptoms are different. While a woman with menopause-related brain fog may forget where she placed her keys (several times a day), a person with signs of early dementia may forget what the keys are used for.

 

A perimenopausal woman with brain fog may experience word-finding difficulty during a conversation, while a person with early dementia may have difficulty comprehending speech.

 

Midlife is an ideal time to make lifestyle changes to reduce risk factors for dementia. Recent studies revealed the following increased risk for dementia by 41-78%: obesity, diabetes, smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, psychological stress, heavy drinking, and deficiencies in Vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid), and B12. The good news is women can avoid diseases and reduce the risk of dementia through healthy diet changes, stress management, regular cardio and resistance exercise, quitting smoking, minimizing alcohol consumption, and with vitamin supplementation as needed. If you are experiencing symptoms of brain fog, see your provider for guidance.

 

 


Tags

anxiety, hormone health, lifestyle, menopause, mental health, perimenopause, Physical and Mental health, sex life, women's health


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