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Newly Diagnosed: What Is Lupus Fog?

Problems with Memory

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Updated June 27, 2008

Tell someone who has had lupus for awhile that you occasionally feel forgetful, struggle to remember things, or have trouble making sense of something you’re reading, and the veteran will probably tell you about lupus fog.

It’s a concept that is familiar with most lupus patients, and it's considered a general symptom. Lupus fog is sometimes connected with simple cognitive dysfunction – memory problems, basically.

There are several contributing factors to lupus fog – it could be a side effect of drug treatment, for example, so if you are suffering from a general feeling of fogginess, your first step is to speak with your healthcare professional. She or he will then do what they can to determine what is causing the condition.

For many, lupus fog is just another manifestation of their disease. The best course of action to help alleviate the symptoms through coping strategies, such as reassurance from loved ones, relaxation techniques and memory aids, like keeping a diary to complement memory. There are no drugs available that help.

When It’s Not the 'Fog'

Sometimes symptoms associated with lupus fog may be indicators of a more serious disease, such as stroke and inflammation in the spinal cord or brain’s blood vessels (though this latter condition is uncommon).

Sources: Thinking, Memory & Behavior S.L.E. Lupus Foundation. June 21, 2008. Overview of Lupus and the Brain and Nervous System Lupus Foundation of America. June 21, 2008.

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