The immune system is responsible for protecting the human body from outside threats, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins. There are two major parts of the immune system – you’re born with the innate immune system, but the adaptive immune system develops as you grow.
An immune response is any action taken by the immune system to rid the body of foreign, harmful substances. The immune system reacts by sending cells and proteins to the affected area, which generally results in inflammation, redness, and/or swelling as the cells do their job.
As incredible as the immune system is, it’s not perfect. There are a number of things that can go wrong with the immune system, putting your body at an increased risk of infection, illness, and disease. In some rare cases, the immune system can even start attacking itself and the body.
So, what is CIRS?
Chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), also known as mold biotoxin illness, is a medical condition that’s characterized by an overworked, weakened, and faulty immune system following increased exposure to mold, biotoxins, and various other bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Normally, the immune system can easily rid the body of these toxins. In nearly 25% of the population, a genetic determinant related to their HLA type results in a dysfunctional immune system. When the body is exposed to high levels of biotoxins, the immune system falters.
The biotoxins and mycotoxins latch on to the immune cells and don’t let go. As the immune system continues to produce and release cytokines, it starts to overwork itself and grows weak. Not only that, but it starts to attack benign tissues and results in a number of symptoms.
Read more: Can SIBO Lead to CIRS?
What Are the Causes of CIRS?
There are a number of reasons why some people experience chronic inflammatory response syndrome, but perhaps the biggest cause is the individual’s HLA type. Those with the HLA DR/DQ genetic mutation have an adaptive immune system that doesn’t work as intended.
With a weakened and overworked immune system, any excess exposure to mold or biotoxins can trigger CIRS symptoms. This can be a result of water-damaged buildings, tick bite-related diseases (Lyme disease), exposure to dinoflagellates or other waterborne toxins, and more.
Other causes of CIRS include increased autoimmune processes (lupus, MS, Interstitial Cystitis), allergies to food, environmental triggers, excessive cytokine production, immune suppression, and much more. The root cause is going to be different for each individual.
What Symptoms Are Associated With CIRS?
Since the immune system plays such an important role in the overall health of the human body, it’s normal for patients to experience a wide range of symptoms as a result of CIRS. With that said, understanding the symptoms is very important to finding the root cause and treating it.
Unfortunately, many doctors in the medical community today often misdiagnosed and mistreat CIRS for another disease or condition, such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression, Leaky Gut, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Chronic Lyme Disease.
To ensure you understand the many different symptoms of CIRS, let’s take a look at some of the most common:
Read more: Common Mold Biotoxin Illness Symptoms
Some of the most common musculoskeletal symptoms include painful joints, sharp pains, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, weak muscles, aching muscles, tics, charlie horses, curling of the hands, toes, or feet, stiffness in the morning, burning pains, and fleeting pains in the body.
Lungs & Heart Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms related to lung and heart health include shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), asthma-related symptoms, coughing, wheezing, edema (swelling), a pounding heart, and heart palpitations.
Some of the most common symptoms related to the ears, eyes, nose, and throat include blurred vision, light sensitivity, watery eyes, night blindness, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision loss, hearing loss, odor sensitivity, congestion, throat burns, sore throat, and a raspy voice.
Some of the most common symptoms related to the digestive system, liver, and urinary tract include having a metallic taste in your mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bile reflux, weight changes, abdominal pain, and frequent urination.
Skin Health Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms related to the skin include sensitive skin, itchy skin, the feeling of bugs crawling on the skin, easy bruising, skin sores, pimples that itch, thick skin, peeling skin, redness in the face, sweating, vitiligo, hives, burning sensation, and bumpy skin.
Some of the most common symptoms related to the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems include headaches, dizziness, confusion, insomnia, loss of cognitive function, numbness, low blood pressure, poor body temperature regulation, mood swings, vertigo, and reduced libido.
Symptoms With the Extremities
Some of the most common symptoms related to the extremities (limbs) include cold hands and feet, discoloring of the hands, numbness, foot falling asleep, tingling in the hands or feet, shaky hands, and clawing or curling or the hands or feet.
Treating Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
Before your doctor can treat CIRS, they first need to detect, identify, and diagnose the problem. This generally requires confirmation of biotoxin or mold exposure, identifying the various symptoms, ruling out other possible causes, and completing a variety of tests to analyze current health.
Once diagnosed, your doctor will put together a treatment plan that best suits your unique needs. Since everyone’s body is different, treatment will vary from one patient to the next. This might include toxin binders, immune modulators, and other medication to improve recovery.
What’s even more important to proper treatment is helping the individual make the necessary lifestyle changes to reverse, treat, or prevent symptoms in the future. This might include eating a healthier diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy environment, and sleeping better.
Contact Dr. Hagmeyer for a Consultation Today!
If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms listed above or believe you might have chronic inflammatory response syndrome, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Hagmeyer today. We’ve helped a variety of patients recover from CIRS or mold illness and would love the opportunity to do the same to you.
Contact us today to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Hagmeyer – we look forward to hearing from you!