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Can fibromyalgia affect my memory?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If you keep forgetting names and where you put your keys, fibromyalgia isn't necessarily to blame. Like gray hair and wrinkles, memory problems can be a feature of aging. However, many people with fibromyalgia complain that they have become forgetful and have other cognitive problems, such as a poor attention span. There's even a name for this mental fuzziness linked to fibromyalgia: fibro fog.

A few small clinical studies seem to confirm that fibro fog is real. For instance, one study found that people with fibromyalgia scored below average when asked to recall words from a list. Some scientists believe that pain may contribute to memory problems and other mental effects. Remembering that much may help you stick with your fibromyalgia management plan.

Yes, fibromyalgia usually presents in younger adult females as chronic widespread pain, stiffness, fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns, and cognitive difficulties. Northwestern University did a study in which they found that chronic pain affects the pre-frontal cortex, the area associated with memory. The chronic pain, which patient's with fibromyalgia have, are similarly affecting their memories. Also, sleep and memory have been shown to have important associations and the disruption in sleep patterns which patient's with fibromyalgia have is playing a role in these patients finding that they are having some cognitive difficulties.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.