The Primary Reason for Mold Treatment Failure
“I believe the alternative healing methods are much more than just temporary or half measures.” Andrew Saul
“The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to a close. It its place, we are entering a period of consequences.” Winston Churchill
“The moral of the story is I chose a half measure when I should have gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter.” Popular scene from Breaking Bad
As I have discussed in previous newsletters, in Western medicine, physicians often rely on symptom-specific pharmaceuticals as the only treatment option—a “half-measured” approach. In doing so, they are often ignoring a patient’s home, environment, or lifestyle as the most likely causes of what is making them sick in the first place. There are very few health marker reducers and/or illnesses with zero causal relationship to one or more lifestyle or environmental triggers. Thus, this recognition is essential when it comes to recovering from mold illness.
Mold patients have an even greater need to address multiple treatment modalities in order to get healthy, because their illness may have come to a head with the presence of environmental mold; but could have originated a long time prior with their genetic propensity to mold-related illness, or with a toxic burden that built over time and finally turned into sickness with the mold exposure.
This means that in order to get better, mold patients also need a multipronged approach to treatment, addressing the whole person and that person’s whole environment. Just focusing on the environmental mold, while incredibly important is not enough. Furthermore, if a patient is only willing to address some pieces of treatment, or to make a few adjustments to their home and/or lifestyle, they will only experience a little relief. Thus, getting well, when it comes to mold, is inherently a process to be executed over time and is not an event that just passes or happens.
It is incumbent on both the physician and patient to recognize that addressing the following components is crucial to reaching wellness:
- Mold Remediation
- Personal hygiene (nasal rinsing, cleaning)
- Gut health and diet (avoiding sugars, starches, and refined, cereal grains that promote fungal growth and resistance)
- Improvement of Indoor AIR Quality which includes HEPA air purification
- HVAC and humidity control
- Addressing any water intrusion issues, such as plumbing or roof leakage
- Reducing the overall fungal load in the air by routinely cleaning for mold with safe, non-toxic products
Unfortunately, for those of us who are sensitive, mold is ubiquitous in our environment and “exists everywhere.” Ignoring or not understanding any of the above listed elements may yield sub-optimal outcomes, regardless of perceived efforts by a patient. In other words, “half measures” will not yield relief.
Taking Mold off of the Table
Dr. Dennis’ treatment protocol was designed to identify mold early in the diagnostic process. Because the immune response symptoms are so similar to those of many chronic illnesses, an accurate mold diagnosis is often a diagnosis of exclusion. In other words, doctors will take time and your financial resources to rule out other chronic illnesses until they either diagnose you with a “catch all” or non-conclusive diagnosis of unknown cause, for example, Chronic Pain, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, EBV, Lyme, or they will treat only the most magnified or obvious components of the illness (aka Half Measures).
Physicians rarely discuss with their patients the details all of the home living conditions, diet and exercise, adequate rest and sleep, and indoor air quality. Because of that, medical treatment is not likely to work for the patients who live an unhealthy life or in moldy living conditions. Just as diabetics, autoimmune patients, addicts, and overweight patients have to change their lifestyles or recovery is not possible. Mold patients must make living adjustments as well. Living in a healthy environment and avoiding mold or foods that feed mold are all part of taking “full measures” to get better.
Conversely, addressing mold immediately with full measures results in a drastic reduction in medical costs and time suffered. This may seem too easy. Lifestyle changes are difficult; however, living in a healthy, safe environment is not overly cost prohibitive. Sure, if you have a mold-infested home, it will have to be remediated and that could be costly. But, this is not always the case, and there are things anyone can do with self-care to make their home a safer environment.
Let Your Body do the Healing
The human body has a remarkable ability to heal. You have very complex systems that are engineered to remove toxins from your body. Eliminating mold from your environment allows your body’s healing processes to work without a continuous assault on your immune system by the mold. As important, your body heals most when you sleep. This is when many of your body’s systems slow down and the healing can take place. As an example, if someone has inhaled mycotoxins that are causing neurological symptoms (brain fog, motor control, memory, etc.), the glymphatic system (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) detoxes the brain most effectively while you sleep.
Give a Complete Effort and Adhere to Your Doctor’s Instructions
Patient adherence or compliance to physician instructions and medication management is one of the primary reasons for treatment failure. There are numerous studies that show a wide range of results; but, at an average, over 50% of patients do not adhere to their physician’s directions. Reported reasons for non-compliance include:
- Patients stop taking after they begin to feel better
- Missing dosing regularly
- Not filling the prescription at all
The end results include a marked increase in health emergencies, hospitalization events, and mortality rates. It is important to note that when there is non-compliance to some medications, a severe event (Heart Attack, Diabetic complication, advanced respiratory disease, etc.) is what ultimately occurs. Following this event, the patient’s life changes permanently. Inevitably, compliance improves for individuals who have major health events, because they have multiple medicines required manage their condition(s).
As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to mold and mycotoxins, a patient can reach their “Toxic Load.” We all have a limited ability to rid ourselves from toxic elements. Once we reach that limit or body burden, we can become ultra-sensitive to mold, develop Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (“MCS”) or even sensitivity to electromagnetic fields (“EMF”). This means that a whiff of any mold, household product chemical, perfume, and/or exposure to EMFs from electric appliances, Wi-Fi, etc. can cause debilitating reactions. When this occurs, it becomes very difficult to live a normal life because a person has become essentially allergic to everything.
It can get even worse. A patient can later develop a type of PTSD upon exposure to any element which they are sensitive to. This means the part of the brain that identifies the harmful element triggers a whole-body response prior to the “thinking” part of the brain informing the body that it is only a warning. In these cases, patients can have panic attacks where the “trigger” elicits a significant response without an actual emergency or catastrophic event. For treatment, patients must retrain their Limbic System to process these exposures.
“What Makes Us Sick? Look Upstream.” Dr. Rishi Manchanda, Ted Talk, August 2014.
This video describes how important air quality is for our health and healing. When mold or pollutants are in our homes, it is sometimes the home that is making the patient sick. Medicine or therapy can be rendered useless, if the home is not addressed. Until the home is addressed, the body cannot heal. Key takeaways from the video:
- The quality of the AIR you breathe in is 2TIMES MORE IMPORTANT than your genetic code to your health.
- “The quality of the AIR you breathe in is 5 TIMES MORE IMPORTANT than all the treatment rendered by hospitals, doctors and medications!”
All Dollars are not Equal.
It is commonly believed that health care expenditures have gotten way out of control. Insurance is extremely expensive on its own. However, there is a phenomenon where patients worry most about what they pay out of pocket and less on what the insurance pays. This is impractical in the days of high-deductible insurance.
It is important to note that dollars spent on prevention and hygiene may seem like poor investments.
The obvious investment return is not always clear as we view healthcare dollars differently than other dollars. In the case of mold sickness, money spent on personal and environmental products may appear expensive and unnecessary; however, they are extremely cost effective in disease prevention and disease management. Addressing the mold in our lives can cost hundreds of dollars. Patients must recognize that these costs may help patients avoid tens of thousands of healthcare dollars, time debilitated, and quality of life. The prevention and quality of life elements are so much more valuable than any health care treatment expenses. We also have to recognize that even if our insurance does cover expenses, we are still spending crazy amounts of dollars on healthcare. It may not impact us personally, but it does impact everyone troubled with the rising costs of healthcare.
Astute patients can use their Health Care Savings accounts to pay for these expenses when they are prescribed by a doctor.
Wellness is precious and cannot be replaced by anything. I have seen mold illness ruin lives for up to a decade. I have also seen the joy of patients who miraculously get better when full measures are taken. It is my hope that sharing what I have learned will help others to properly treat and address mold in a proactive, whole-body perspective.