Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) is a condition resulting from biotoxin exposure. This immune response causes extreme inflammation and can affect multiple organ systems in the body. The biotoxin’s responsible for CIRS can include mold, Lyme disease, and other toxic substances in the environment. We will explore more information about CIRS, its symptoms, and possible treatments in this blog post.
It is estimated that one in four have a genetic predisposition to CIRS. This common (25% of the population) genetic defect is found on chromosome 6 on the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) system. This defect prevents the immune system from properly detecting biotoxins, and thus does not produce the antibodies needed to kill them. The symptoms of CIRS vary widely and are often misdiagnosed as other diseases such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is imperative to understand CIRS to avoid misdiagnosis and receiving the incorrect treatment.
What is CIRS?
CIRS is a chronic condition caused by exposure to mold or tick-born illness. It is also sometimes referred to as Mold Biotoxin illness. These biotoxins enter the body and trigger a strong, sustained immune response which results in chronic inflammation throughout the body and organ systems.
During CIRS illness, the immune system signals the body to produce cytokines–proteins that assist the body’s immune and inflammation response. This sustained and excessive immune response leads to the immune system attacking its own tissues, leaving inflammation and chronic health issues as a result.
Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker is the person responsible for identifying this process and discovering CIRS. He realized that some of his patients were all experiencing similar symptoms, and who had all been exposed to toxic mold. He then went on to develop criteria for diagnosing CIRS, which evaluates symptoms, checking for certain biomarkers, and also assessing genetic predisposition to biotoxins.
Symptoms of CIRS
CIRS symptoms can vary widely from person to person, but some common symptoms include:
- Brain fog and difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue/chronic fatigue syndrome
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle weakness and cramping
- Respiratory problems such as coughing and wheezing
- Digestive issues
- Frequent urination, excessive thirst, dehydration
- Skin rashes and itching
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Anxiety and depression
It is important to find a doctor familiar with CIRS in order to get a proper diagnosis. The symptoms can overlap with many other conditions, so a complete evaluation with an experienced medical practitioner is vital. It is common to be incorrectly diagnosed with certain conditions, when the underlying issue is CIRS. Some of the commonly misdiagnoses include:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Depression and Anxiety
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- and more…
Testing for CIRS involves assessing the blood for inflammatory markers, hormone markers, antibodies, genetic markers, mycotoxins, Lyme and other co-infection. It may also involve testing your home environment for mycotoxins/mold.
Treatment for CIRS
First and foremost, you must identify, address, and/or remove the source of your biotoxin exposure. Sometimes this requires addressing multiple biotoxin issues. This may require that you remediate the mold in your home or move, or it may mean you need to receive treatment for Lyme or other tick-borne illnesses, or other contaminations.
During treatment and with the help of your medical professional, you may need to detox and follow an anti-inflammatory diet to help your body deal with and remove the biotoxins. One common detoxifying agent is activated charcoal. You may need to then support your body in healing with certain vitamins, supplements, and probiotics. It is important to consult with your doctor on which supplements you may need. Some many are often low in are vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. Identifying and treating co-infections are very important during this process. If you are positive for Lyme, there are many other common Lyme co-infections, such as Babesia, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia, Bartonella, and others.
During your treatment it is ideal to follow a non-toxic lifestyle to help your body heal from the toxic overload. This includes avoiding chemicals and artificial fragrances, consuming the cleanest possible food and water, and making sure you are breathing clean air. You may want to purchase an air-purifier. Treating CIRS can be a long and complicated process, but each thing you can work on to assist healing will help you move towards your goal of health. Make sure you find a practitioner that can support you throughout your healing, and try to surround yourself with friends and family who understand and are supportive.
Preventing CIRS is somewhat similar to treatment, although does not need to be as aggressive. First, make sure you are living in a home without mold. This can start with testing the home for mold, keeping the home at the ideal humidity levels (between 30-50%), fixing any leaks right away, and using quality air purifiers to keep your indoor air healthy.
Another way to prevent CIRS is to always protect yourself from ticks and tick-borne illnesses. Wear protective clothing and use insect repellent when you are outdoors during tick season. If you are bit, make sure you remove the tick properly (removing the head), and save the tick in a ziplock bag for testing, if needed. Watch for any symptoms of sickness, or a red bulls-eye at the bite site.
In conclusion, CIRS is a chronic illness that is often misdiagnosed. CIRS can occur after exposure to certain biotoxins such as toxic mold and tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease. Symptoms vary widely and across many organ systems, and treatment and detox can be a long and complex process. However, it is possible to improve your symptoms and recover your health. Make sure you find an experienced healthcare practitioner to assist you if you believe you suffer from CIRS.