CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE SYNDROME (CIRS)
WHAT IS CIRS?
CIRS, also known as chronic inflammatory response syndrome, is an assortment of chronic symptoms which are based on inflammatory responses. These responses are triggered due to contact with biotoxins; for example, mold exposure from water-damaged buildings. For this reason, CIRS is occasionally called “biotoxin illness” or “mold illness”. In fact, it was originally believed that mold exposure was solely to blame for this condition. However, upon further research, medical experts theorize that bacteria, fungus, and various viral infections are also linked to the development of chronic inflammatory response syndrome.
It was from the fundamental need to classify the pathology of biotoxin and mold-related illnesses that the term CIRS was coined. Ritchie Shoemaker, MD. created the medical acronym to properly define the collection of symptoms. And while the panel of specialized lab markers for biotoxin / mold illness can differ greatly, vital clinical information, which may be used for tracking progress over time and treatment protocols, is usually included. Sadly, it is not uncommon for CIRS to be misdiagnosed or under diagnosed. For patients and physicians alike, managing a syndrome as complex as CIRS is quite the conundrum. This is partially due to chronic inflammatory response syndrome overlapping and even mirroring symptoms connected to other chronic infections, such as some auto immune disorders, ehrlichiosis, and lyme disease.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CIRS?
In general, the signs and symptoms of chronic inflammatory response syndrome are environmental sensitivity, exhaustion, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, and weakness, as well as potential multiple diagnoses from various medical professionals. However, a seemingly endless supply of more definitive symptoms has also been observed in CIRS patients, which have been properly classified by whatever system of the body they afflict. These categories include:
DIGESTIVE / LIVER / URINARY SYMPTOMS
Metallic Taste In The Mouth
EAR / EYE / NOSE / THROAT SYMPTOMS
Blurred / Hazy Vision
Burning In The Throat
Dark / Puffy Circles Below The Eyes
Laryngitis / Raspy Voice
Light Sensitivity In The Eyes
Nasal / Sinus Congestion
Ringing In The Ears
Tearing Easily In The Eyes
Vocal Cord Polyps
ENDOCRINE / IMMUNE / NERVOUS SYMPTOMS
Decreased Learning Ability
Inability To Remember Names / Words
Lack Of Sex Drive
Low Blood Pressure
Painful & Swollen Lymph Nodes
Poor Body Temperature Regulation
Poor Short-Term Memory
Poor Word Recollection
Cold Feet / Hands
Discolored Feet / Hands, e.g., Red & White Mottling
Finger / Toe Clawing
Numbness In Part Of The Body, e.g., Feet “Going To Sleep”
Shaking In The Hands
HEART / LUNGS SYMPTOMS
Edema / Swelling
Intermittent Heart Pounding
Shortness Of Breath During Exercise
Tachycardia (Rapid Heart Beat) During Exercise
Feet / Toes Curling Up
Fleeting / Transitory Pain
Hands Clawing / Curling Up
Ice Pick Sharp Pain
Overeactive Skin, e.g., Skin Reacting To The Sun, Even Through Clothing
Sensation Of Bugs Crawling On The Skin
Sensation Of Bugs Biting / Stinging The Skin
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CHRONIC INFLAMMATION & MOLD EXPOSURE
Mold exposure has been proven to promote chronic inflammation in specific individuals. The infection from mold exposure involves a systemic inflammatory response, which select individuals are highly susceptible to. Today, it has become a well-established fact that frequent contact with these biotoxins has both neuroinflammatory and neurological consequences. Among these consequences include:
Atrophy to certain structures of the brain, for instance, the caudate nucleus.
Changes in white matter brain volume.
Greater blood-brain barrier permeability.
Furthermore, medical experts have also confirmed that mold exposure can even induce Alzheimer’s and dementia-like effects.
THE POSSIBLE FACTORS OF MOLD EXPOSURE
To determine if mold exposure is a potential factor for those that currently (or formerly) reside in water-damaged buildings, further research should be carried out. Some of the symptoms include:
Acute / Chronic Bronchial Cough
Acute / Chronic Bronchial Spasms
Acute / Chronic Bronchial Sputum
Bowel Issues, e.g., Acute Bouts Of Diarrhea
Cognitive Decline, e.g., Alzheimer’s Or Dementia
Delayed Muscle Soreness Following Exercise
Inability To Find Words
Joint Hypermobility, e.g., Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) Or Marfans
Loss Of Motor Function / Muscle / Muscle Tone
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)
Peripheral Circulatory Symptoms, e.g., Loss Of Normal Skin Tone On Feet / Fingers / Hands / Toes
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
Rhinitis / Sinusitis
Sudden Onset Joint Hypermobility