Are You Breathing In This Silent Killer? (A Reader's Story)
Do you have chronic sinus? Headaches? Or fatigue you just can't seem to shake? It could be toxic mold.
Recently we were contacted by Food Matters community member, Kate Jeffers. A woman who is struggling with her health because of toxic mold. Here is her story:
I'm affected by a serious, potentially-life threatening condition that millions of people have, but no one knows about. It's called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).
It results when genetically susceptible individuals are exposed to microbes, such as pathogenic molds and bacteria, that grow when buildings sustain water damage. You've probably heard of some people getting very sick after Hurricane Sandy or Suzanne Somers' recent experience with Toxic Mold Illness after living in a Malibu beach house that had been flooded. She talks about it in her new book, TOX-SICK: From Toxic to Not Sick.
CIRS that results from mold toxicity can cause severe fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, tingling extremities, muscle weakness, body pain, depression, anxiety, and many other symptoms. It can even cause paralysis, anaphylaxis, and death. CIRS affects neuroregulatory hormones in the brain, leading to immune dysfunction. Food allergies, increased susceptibility to infections, hormone disruption, and autoimmune disease can result from CIRS. Millions of people have CIRS, but it is misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed due to a lack of physician awareness.
Many people believe CIRS is the real culprit for the explosion of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
My journey with CIRS began 6 1/2 years ago and it has absolutely turned my life upside down. I have been forced out of my home and I've lost all of my belongings. I was exposed to indoor toxic mold after moving into the Wamsutta Lofts in New Bedford, MA. Unbeknownst to me, I have a genetic predisposition to mold sensitivity (According to Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, who identified and characterized mold illness, about 24% of all people are susceptible to CIRS and mold illness).
Being exposed to the hidden mold in my residence caused me to become severely ill and subsequently develop extreme hypersensitivity to even minute amounts of mold. My reaction can be likened to those who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), also known as Idiopathic environmental intolerances (IEI). Suddenly, I could no longer be in or around many buildings, cars, people, and objects without becoming extremely sick. "Mold hits" results in me experiencing shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, all over body pain, and more.
People like me are forced out of their homes and often resort to living in their cars or in tents due to a lack of tolerable housing. While the illness is diagnosed with commonly available blood tests and it is treatable, there is a severe shortage of doctors who are aware of mold illness and the treatment protocols. Patients with CIRS often lose their jobs, health insurance, and housing. Much of the testing and treatment is not covered by insurance leaving people financially devastated. It is only through my faith in God that I have continued to push on, not knowing when or if my health would ever return.
CIRS is a very common and real illness. An estimated 50% of all buildings harbor pathogenic mold that can make genetically susceptible individuals sick. With 24% of the population susceptible to mold illness, millions of people in the U.S. suffer from CIRS and do not even know it.
Another potential consequence of CIRS is suicide. The 16-year-old son of a dear friend of mine took his own life yesterday due to CIRS. He had suffered for a year with Toxic Mold Illness, and stories like his are not uncommon. Society and the medical community need increased awareness of mold illness to prevent the needless suffering, disability, and death that can result from CIRS.
I am a nurse and it is my ultimate goal to be able to use all I've learned to help others. However, right now I'm still struggling and have a long road ahead to fully recover my health."
Recently, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Dave Asprey, released a documentary about the topic called, Moldy. You can watch it on FMTV here.
This gripping documentary brings together the country's top medical experts and survivors of mold-related illness to explore the effects of toxic mold, and how it has become a modern-day health problem of monumental proportions.
Learn how to recognize the conditions necessary for mold to thrive, and how to recover both your home and health from this silent poison.