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Brain fog and clouded sensorium


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  • Brain fog and clouded sensorium

    Hi guys,

    Lisa I posted a new thread on the 'brain fog' which follows myectomy and it raised a number of questions for me relating to the impact of HCM (and the medications many of us take) on our neurological functioning. Back in 2001 or 2002 I started to notice that my thinking was becominga bit foggy - like my consciousness was dulled a bit. I think doctors call this clouded sensorium. All I can say is that it feels as though I am experiencing the world through a bubble - like I am not 'present'. Perhaps it is a coincidence (and perhaps not), this fogginess in my thinking began around the time I started taking beta blockers.

    The degree of this 'foggines' varies from day to day- sometimes it feels as though I am barely experiencing reality and at other times it is not so bad. When the level of this 'fogginess' is at its worst, I also have a tightness in my head. I've often wondered if other HCMers have this...is it related to the medication? Blood pressure issues? Or do I have some other neurological problem? I know it could also be related to depression, but I feel as though this problem is much more that simply pyschological.

    Of course, I've just had a very traumatic myectomy and so I am noticing this problem much more these days. But it is very concerning to me and I am about to seek specialist advice. Cardiologists have not been able to offer me any useful advice

    I would be very interested in hearing if anyone else is experiencing this.


    Age 38, dad of two young children, dx 1996, myectomy March 2005, a-fib issues, due for ICD soon.

  • #2
    I before diagnosed was wound somewhat tight- type A pesonality.I have noticed that since I have been taking the beta blockers Im not as aware as before.Its not extreme but I can notice a difference.I also feel that the fogginess varies from day to day.I dont know what to do about this because I definetely need the beta blockers.take care mike
    One day at a time.


    • #3
      Hi Mike,

      Sounds just like me; foggy, not quite as 'aware' as I used to be etc. Its really hard to verbalize what I feel. But it sucks big time. It's possible I can get off beta blockers sometime in the near future because I have had a myectomy. But I think my docs want to keep me on something. Perhaps beta blockers?

      Take care,

      Age 38, dad of two young children, dx 1996, myectomy March 2005, a-fib issues, due for ICD soon.


      • #4
        I notice the brain fog. It's become a joke in my family, in fact. I more easily forget things that I used to remember... appointments, birthdays, not recognizing someone from my past as quickly as before, names, etc.

        We noticed the same thing with my mother, before she passed away.




        • #5
          Hi Debbie,

          So what do you think is causing your brain fog? Medications? Blood pressure problems or something directly or indirectly related to HCM?

          Age 38, dad of two young children, dx 1996, myectomy March 2005, a-fib issues, due for ICD soon.


          • #6

            I truly believe it has to do with the beta blockers. I notice it more since my dosage increased in late August.

            I work with a woman who is on Toprol, also. She apparently doesn't have any heart problems. She, also, notices a problem with concentration, at times. We joke about "it's the beta blockers" all the time.

            I also think it has to do with the condition.

            It's like this...you're running around like a chicken with your head cut off, much of the day. You bend over to pick something up, and get a head rush. You get dizzy from walking too fast. Etc., etc. People talk to you when you are in the midst of your head rush, and I don't think you can hear as well when your blood is rushing in your ears, and you are seeing black spots and your lips and fingers are tingling. Sometimes, you miss things that were said.

            I think it all adds up. Just part of being who we are.



            • #7
              I'm convinced, it's the Beta Blockers. I mentioned this to my Cardio & he agreed with me. I take 200mg of Toporal, when I was on a higher doseage I was even "stupider". I also find I can't think as quickly-like while watching a game show like "Jepardy" I know the answers & they just don't come up to the surface of my brain/can't get them out of my mouth. I always thought I was very Bright-did very well in College, but now-it's another story!
              I'm not enjoying this aspect!


              • #8
                beta-blocker brain fog!! Well, this is a new explanation for what seems to me to be a very old problem!

                I've had it in correlation to my tiny blackouts over 40 years. The answer to both problems was my ablation. In my case, reducing the obstruction seems to have improved blood flow to the brain, helping me to strongly sense my world.

                Have any of you folks experimented with a brisk walk when you felt foggy? I know this can be a difficult thing to do, since fogginess does agur well for generalized energy levels either. But I have found that moving around increases myu alertness more than anything else----


                • #9
                  Liona I like that "beta blocker brain fog"Im also taking 200 mg toprol and its no coincidence that we feel this way.Im not sure why beta blockers have this effect on us,or is it just the high dose we take.I dislike the spaced out feeling I sometimes have,but its much better than my heart racing.I feel completely out of control when that happens.that being said I sometimes forget someones name just after they have told me.I also use to enjoy bargaining price with people at the flea market or for big ticket items.In this area I have completely lost my edge. now I feel a lack of motivation that at times is more like a listlessness.well again Im glad we have this board to share with each other and I hope all are feeling well. take care mike
                  One day at a time.


                  • #10
                    Hi, Mike, and all,

                    I am also on 200mg Toprol, but am very glad to say that it has not made my bargaining ability go away! That would be a terrible disadvantage here in China.

                    I have been following this thread with interest and trying to decide whether Toprol has this effect on me. I can't say that it seems to have slowed my thinking too much, but maybe I am so slow I don't notice!



                    • #11
                      Brain Fog

                      I also believe its the beta blockers. I've been on Inderal, toporal, sotalol and now coreg along with amiodarone(which is supposed to have beta blocking properties.) On all I've noticed differing degrees of fogginess depending on whether I was withdrawing from one or raising the dose on another. My wife has asked me to describe the effect beta blockers have on my mind and I had to remind her of the days of our youth when we might have celebrated a little too much the night before and you wake up feeling mentally out of it the next day. When I went off sotalol a few years back and they were switching me to another drug, I was drug free for about 24 hrs and got a brief feel for what life was like without beta blockers and for me there was a significant difference in mental acuity
                      Chuck B

                      An inch is a cinch, a yard is hard


                      • #12
                        Brain fog and sensorium

                        I wonder if it's more a result of the trauma our bodies went through with the myectomy and the medications we take. I have the same sensations but I am, fortunately, not taking beta blockers. However, I am on coumadin and diurectics and I have to believe it's the medication which makes me feel the way I do sometimes.


                        • #13
                          I read an article on how the brain works recently while sitting in the doctors waiting area and part of the article is as follows.
                          The brains neurotransmitter system produces two extremely important neurotransmitters, adrenalin & serotonin. It also said the depletion of neurotransmitters can be caused by medications.
                          Beta Blockers block adrenalin.
                          A few side effects of Beta Blockers is memory loss, confusion or even hallucinations.
                          It seems to make sense that Beta Blockers would have the effect on the brain you describe.
                          I know I have bouts of it especially memory loss.
                          The article also said these neurotransmitters occur at an increased rate when the body is provided with a high diet in Amino Acids, the fuel of brain neurotransmitters.
                          Every great thing that has ever happened since the beginning of time has started as a single thought in someones mind.
                          So if you are capable of thought then you are capable of great things
                          Good luck and stay well.


                          • #14
                            I'm in a perpetual state of fogginess here... and I don't actually mean that to be humorous although many people I come in contact with find it rather funny.

                            We discussed the memory issue in another thread, but there is a lot more than that going on as well. I'm doing well enough in school, but it's so much work to keep up with my classmates. I'm having a very hard time trying to comprehend what my professors are saying. Even watching a movie I find that I often have to hit the rewind button to watch a certain part over again so I can grasp the plot and it frustrates me practically to tears sometimes. These are becoming more than just anoyances for me, but at the same time there's no way I could go off my Atenolol without serious consequences to my heart.

                            These issues have definitely become more severe since the myectomy so I know that it is involved somewhat... but it's been a year since my surgery and anything residual from that should have cleared up by now, so I can only assume that what I'm left with is for keeps.

                            Perhaps it's just another part of the disease we simply have to live with. The beta blocker slows down the metabolism so I find I have to work much harder to burn calories... and apparently it slows down my brain as well so I have to work much harder to learn anything at school. I'm sure age has a small part in this, but good lord I'm only 42 and have the mind of a 92 year-old right now.

                            I try to bring up these and other issues to my cardio, and honestly the guy is great I like him a lot... but he feels that my myectomy has 'cured' me and has a hard time believing I could possibly still be having any sort of HCM-related problems. As a result, they get swept under the carpet at times and forgotten.

                            Sorry if this sounded like a rant... I didn't mean it too.

                            "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."


                            • #15

                              I know how you feel. I think I had a similar thread started about this with another BB Inderal. My math professor even noticed its effects on me. I remember sitting over a particular easy problem and was almost in tears that I just couldn't figure it out. She came over to me and when she saw the problem she was a bit concerned. I mean just the week before I was helping other students with the exact type of problem! I told her I had started a new med and thank goodness she understood. I had to stay after a lot at that point just so I could get it down!

                              Now, I'm on 12.5mg of toporal twice a day. From the 10mg three times a day of the Inderal. It was the mid-day dose that was killing me. So, now I just have brain fog in the mornings and at night it puts me to sleep somewhat.

                              Mary S.


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