Some symptoms of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can be overlooked. Weight gain and fatigue usually take center stage while symptoms of brain fog are considered secondary. What is brain fog? – This is when you experience memory loss, can’t think clearly, have trouble thinking of the right words to say, and find it hard to concentrate.
Excerpt from Drs. Frank and Lisa Lanzisera’s newest book “What’s Wrong With My Thyroid? :
Patients usually say their brain fog is one of the most annoying symptoms they have to deal with on a daily basis. It can be embarrassing in their professional world and disturbing if family and friends treat them as if they are “losing it”.
The good news is that brain fog is usually one of the first symptoms to improve once treatment begins.
Spouses of our patients typically notice the difference first. It’s a wonderfully rewarding experience when a husband or wife thanks you for giving their spouse back to them. The truth is that all treatment is a team effort. The family has to be on board for any help to be effective. Too often we have seen the spouse not wanting to participate in the mate’s recovery. This puts such a burden on the one trying to get well. It’s difficult enough to begin treatment when you are still feeling sick. This initial effort is made so much easier with the help and support of the family.
Hypothyroidism can cause a problem with glucose metabolism. Glucose (sugar) metabolism is the rate at which the body converts glucose for energy.
The brain uses glucose. It cannot function well if glucose metabolism is impaired and can lead to symptoms of brain fog: fatigue, irritability, and light-headedness.
People with low thyroid function have a problem with glucose being absorbed into their cells. Their cells also don’t use it as readily. On top of all this – once glucose does finally get absorbed, the cells have a difficult time eliminating it.
Hypoglycemia is associated with all six patterns of hypothyroidism. Most frequently, a low-functioning pituitary gland is involved as well as the adrenal and thyroid glands. The pituitary or “master” gland as previously described is the traffic cop for the body’s hormonal flow. Blood sugar fluctuations have a debilitating effect on the adrenal gland hormone output which disrupts the pituitary’s functions. The pituitary is the mid-level boss of the thyroid gland, so when the pituitary is not functioning well the thyroid gland suffers too.
Hypoglycemic symptoms can develop not because there isn’t enough glucose in the blood but because the glucose can’t be absorbed adequately by the cells.
The symptoms of hypoglycemia are:
- Blurry/impaired vision
- Poor short-term memory
- Agitated easily
- Craving for sweets and salty snacks
- Irritability especially when meals are missed
- Dependence on coffee/stimulants
- Needing to eat to relieve fatigue
- Sweating, chills and clamminess
- Hunger and nausea
- Rapid/fast heartbeat
- Tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue
If you or someone you care about are exhibiting symptoms of brain fog, hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia may be responsible.