Do you feel fuzzy or disoriented during or after a session of chemotherapy? You are not alone. Scientifically called chemo brain, a lot of victims of cancer suffer from this problem during or after cancer treatment. It has been estimated that about 14-85% of cancer patients are affected with chemo brain at some point during their treatment. The good news is that chemo brain can be easily managed. Continue reading to find out more about it.
What Are the Symptoms of Chemo Brain?
Symptoms of chemo brain can arise during or after chemotherapy and can range from mild to very severe. In some cases, these symptoms go away quickly, while in others they last for longer periods of time. Some of the symptoms associated with chemo brain are:
- Forgetfulness – it becomes increasingly difficult for cancer patients suffering from chemo brain to remember faces, names, dates or places.
- Difficulty to Focus – patients with chemo brain find difficulty in concentrating and feel “spaced out.” They also find it hard to work on two or more things at the same time.
- Slowed Brain Function – another symptom associated with this problem is that patients take longer to complete routine daily tasks or household chores.
- Disorganized – victims of this problem also become disorganized, and misplace their belongings.
What Causes Chemo Brain?
The exact cause of this problems is not fully understood yet. However, studies suggest a link between chemotherapy and decline in cognitive function, in addition to other factors which may play a role as well. According to the Cancer Research UK, some of the risk factors associated with chemo brain are:
- Type of cancer
- Location of cancer
- The type of drug used for chemotherapy
- Dosage of chemotherapy drugs
- Age of the patient
- Low blood cells count
- Anxiety or depression
- Hormonal changes in the body
According to the American Cancer Society, most of these symptoms usually go away as soon as the underlying cause is removed or when chemotherapy is completed. However, some problems like anxiety or depression may persist for longer durations.
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Managing Chemo Brain
There is no specific treatment protocol available for chemo brain. Currently, the only option available is to treat the underlying symptoms. In addition to medical intervention, there are many things you can do to reduce the symptoms and make your life easier. Let’s look at some of the self-help strategies you can adapt to manage chemo brain.
- Keeping a Diary or Planner – a diary or daily planner will help you manage forgetfulness and reduce cognitive problems. When you keep all your notes and reminders in one place, it will be easier for you to manage your daily tasks and routines.
- Regular Exercise – exercise goes a long way in keeping your brain and body fit. You should exercise your brain by playing puzzles, taking classes and learning new languages. This will keep your mind sharper and more active. In addition, physical exercise is also helpful in minimizing the symptoms of chemo brain and elevating your mood.
- Don’t Try Multitasking – to reduce cognitive problems, it is best that you should focus on one task at a time. By trying to multitask, you will end up overloading your brain which will worsen the symptoms.
- Track Your Memory Problems – try to observe situations in which your symptoms become aggravated and try to avoid them. You may also note that the symptoms are aggravated during a specific time of the day or when you take certain medication.
- Pick a Favorite Spot – to avoid the frustration of frequently losing your things, pick a spot in your house and try to keep your frequently lost belongings there. Doing this will save you a lot of frustration and energy lost in finding your stuff.
- Sleep Well – when you get a good night’s sleep, you will wake up fresh in the morning and your brain function will also improve considerably.
- Seeking help is the first step in saying goodbye to chemo brain. It is very important that you talk to your physician or cancer care team regarding your symptoms. You should write down all your symptoms, including any medication or situations which tend to aggravate them. If a chemotherapy drug is causing the problem, your doctor will replace it with another one.
- Medication – for some people, stimulating pharmacological agents like amphetamine. dextroamphetamine or methylphenidate can improve brain function. However, these drugs have a side-effect of reducing the appetite and causing weight loss. Therefore, they are not suitable for everyone.
- Alternative Medicine – alternative medication for the treatment of chemo brain has not been approved yet. However, some of these agents have shown potential in slowing down brain damage or improving brain function. For example, gingko leaves have been shown to slow down age-related decline in brain function. Similarly, Vitamin-E supplements have a beneficial effect on the functioning of brain cells, in addition to other positive effects on the body.
How Springfield Wellness Center Can Help You
Are you looking for a safe and effective method for the treatment of chemo brain? Then Springfield Wellness Center should be your first choice. Our highly qualified and trained medical professionals have dedicated themselves to taking care of people with nervous disorders, addiction, and disabilities. In addition, we have a proprietary treatment protocol based on the nutritional IV infusion of BR+NAD™. This protocol has been found to be highly effective in improving brain function and reducing the symptoms associated with different types of neurological disorders. So, if you or any of your loved ones are suffering from chemo brain, bring them to Springfield Wellness Center and let us take good care of them.
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