Why You Can’t Not Request Your Doctors to Consider Mold and Mycotoxins!
Following last week’s article, a reader commented on the tragic impact mold has had on her health and life. She also made an appeal to me: “Please Help in Getting the Medical Community to Open Their Eyes to Mold as A Factor When Patients Present with Sudden Multiple and Inexplicable Symptoms!!”
Since my intent is to discuss issues that impact all mold patients in these newsletters, I had to ask myself if this important message is one that I have been leaving out of the discourse. Is this a core issue that affects severe mold sufferers that I have neglected to address? I believe it is.
The patient has to start with what they know: pain, exhaustion, and misery. The patient can describe brain fog, memory issues, fatigue, dizziness, and other symptoms. But, they don’t know what their physician’s thought process and perception will be when their symptoms are so diverse and a clear diagnosis is not apparent.
Patients are hopeful their physician will understand their urgency to find the cause of their illness. We believe the physician considers all potential causes including environmental toxins. Unfortunately, more often than not, many physicians do not. Thus, at the critical point where the patient returns to their doctor following diagnostic results, the physician will either refer the patient to a specialist, conduct more tests, or diagnose the patient with “something.” The resulting diagnosis might even be viewed as a mental health issue, especially in cases when the symptoms overlap with depression symptoms. If so, an antidepressant may be prescribed. At this point, the cause of the patient’s symptoms remains unaddressed, and chronic illness continues.
Other diagnoses that can follow are CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Fibromyalgia, and other chronic disorders with no known cause or cure. CFS has no known cure or medical solution, and fibromyalgia or chronic pain will likely be treated with anticonvulsive medications. These drugs can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. These side effects create similar effects that a patient may be seeking solution to.
What Is a Patient to Do?
The first step is to be aware and educate yourself about environmental illness and mold. Mold is ubiquitous in our outdoor and indoor environments. Couple this with the fact that almost half of all buildings have had some form of water damage (from roof and plumbing leaks, overflows, flooding, etc.), and the likelihood of an exposure being the cause of illness increases. In addition, basements and crawlspaces that are unventilated can be humid and breeding grounds for mold. When that occurs, a building physics phenomenon called the “staking effect” will distribute mold upward into a home and eventually into HVAC air flow, contaminating almost everything. There is also plenty of literature online that describes the microbial and chemical toxins indoors. You will also learn that in addition to sinus and respiratory disease, mold severely impacts the immune system. As important is the fact that, mycotoxin exposure impacts cognition and other vital organ health.
To begin evaluating symptoms yourself, you can take an evaluation or questionnaire that focuses on your environmental and medical history as it relates to possible exposure to mold and mycotoxins. A free evaluation is available on this site by clicking HERE. This questionnaire only takes a few minutes. Once completed, it will provide you a score to show your symptoms, as they relate to mold, so that you may discuss these finding with your doctor. Presenting this “evidence” will help to structure your appointment and give a cause behind your symptoms. This may help the doctor to come to a more specific diagnosis or at to perform some focused testing for mold.
Not All Doctors Will Consider Environmental Factors to Come to a Diagnosis
While mold illness has been documented since biblical times, traditional Western medicine has not addressed this systematically. Mold illness is not a primary consideration for most physician specialties. Furthermore, mold and mycotoxin exposure symptoms overlap with many other chronic diseases. MDs learn relatively limited amounts about toxicology during medical training. Unfortunately, environmental toxins are not a standard part of medical training. Few medical doctors have treated environmental illness. They have not been taught how to question patients on their environments. In my experience, the few medical doctors I have met that do treat environmental illness have had personal experience, either themselves or family members. I speculate, that only then, do they truly empathize with the futility and debilitating path that leads to an accurate diagnosis and eventual wellness. As a result, some of these doctors have dedicated their practices in treating environmental illness. The trick is to find these doctors.
You Are Correct to Take the Possibility of Mycotoxin Poisoning Seriously
There are approximately 200 “known” molds that produce mycotoxins. These sticky microbial volatile organic compounds, MVOCs, can cause very serious health problems, neurological and physical, that can lead to the inability to function properly and even death. They can attack most organs in the human body including the brain and are stored in fat and tissues. Mold and mycotoxins can also accelerate a person’s path to reaching their Toxic Load.
Because mold is everywhere, especially in water damaged homes, anyone’s body can reach its toxic burden quickly. After that, their body will become ultra-sensitive to almost any chemical present or mold to a debilitating degree. This is described in the newsletter, “The Body’s Toxic Load” .
An article by several heavyweights in the field, including the late Dr. Jack Thrasher, discusses the identification of mycotoxins in patients with CFS. It can be accessed here: Toxins, 2013, 5, 605-617. The published study focused on urine tests on 112 patients diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The study found at least one mycotoxins was identified in 93 % of the patients’ urine and almost 30% had more than one mycotoxin present. This publication only suggests that mycotoxins present in the patient’s urine may have been a contributing factor to their illness.
Another study published in Integrative Medicine 2016, June 15, 81-14 entitled “Is Mold Toxicity Really a Problem in our Patients” by Joseph Pizzorno, ND and Ann Shippy, MD, suggests that in specific patient populations, mold exposure should be considered. These include: 1) Patients with chronic respiratory disease. 2) patient with chronic disease, especially neurological, immunological and chronic respiratory symptoms, and 3) any patient with chronic disease who is not responding as expected and all other causes have been ruled out. This seems very logical for any patient suffering from debilitating chronic disease. At that point, patients have nothing to lose and a wellness remains a possibility.
Where Should You Go to Find Treatment?
Integrative medical practitioners, Naturopathic Doctors, and some Osteopathic Doctors that focus on the whole body vs. symptoms, are trained to identify and treat environmental illness. I suggest searching for local medical professionals who treat environmental illness and taking time to review their websites prior to scheduling. Reach out to the offices of those who seem knowledgeable and ask if they treat mold patients or people who suspect an environmentally-triggered illness.
In the Meantime, What Can You Do to Help Yourself?
The following product infographic, 7 Steps to Relief from Mold, was created to demonstrate how Microbalance Health Products and Dr. Dennis’ mold protocol can help patients manage mold in their environments and bodies in order to begin getting well. The step-by-step nature of the graphic can help patients get their minds around all that healing from mold entails. It is designed to be encouraging action steps, rather than overwhelming, hard to sort through information.