Coping Strategies for Chronic Inflammatory Response SyndromeJul 04, 2023
You might be surprised to learn that you sometimes experience symptoms in your body due to your immune system working in overdrive. Most people perceive that the immune system's role is to react to unwanted substances in your body, like germs or allergens.
Often though, the immune system's reaction creates other issues for people with chronic conditions. For example, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome results from a genetic predisposition to an environmental trigger, most commonly mold or Lyme disease.
With CIRS, these biotoxins and microbes induce immune system production of inflammatory cytokines and persistent inflammation. As Dr Neil Nathan discusses in his book, Toxic, what should be a warming campfire of immune reaction becomes a devastating wildfire of inflammation.
If you're suffering from Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), you're likely feeling overwhelmed by the symptoms. Wondering how to treat the problems you're facing associated with CIRS?
Read on to learn more about how you can help yourself if you're suffering from many of the associated inflammatory symptoms.
What Is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome?
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome is usually caused by biotoxins causing a multi-system, multi-symptom condition. The biotoxins are often environmental, like exposure to mold in a home or Lyme disease. The exposure causes reactions in multiple organs and body systems, including neurologic, immunologic, vascular and endocrine abnormalities.
The most common symptoms include:
- Electric shock sensations
- Ice pick or lightening bolt pains
- Pulsing or vibrating sensations (especially down spine)
Other symptoms can include:
- Fatigue, weakness
- Memory, concentration and executive function problems
- Headaches, Vertigo and lightheadedness
- Muscle aches, cramping, joint pains, unusual skin sensitivity
- Hypersensitivity to light, blurred vision, burning eyes
- Cough, chronic congestion, sinus and asthma-like illnesses, shortness of breath
- Chronic GI complaints – cramping, nausea, diarrhea
- Thirst, appetite swings, body temperature irregularities and night sweats
Diagnosis is based on clusters of symptoms and together with a qualified practitioner, you can consider other testing such as:
- Visual contrast sensitivity testing to identify if the person’s ability to detect visual patterns has been impaired
- Genetic testing to detect if the person is genetically susceptible to biotoxin-related illness
- Blood tests to identify particular biomarkers
- MRIScanning to identify any abnormalities in the brain’s structure or brain atrophy
- A deep nasal swab to identify the presence of multiple antibiotic resistant coagulate negative staphylococci
Ultimately, to treat and really get rid of the CIRS, it's necessary to get to the root of what's causing the symptoms and inflammation.
CIRS is often connected to environmental conditions. Changing or remediating the environment is the only surefire way to eliminate the syndrome.
When you eliminate the biotoxins, so there is no more prolonged exposure, healing and treatment can begin.
Beyond removing the person from the environmental conditions associated with CIRS, there are some ways to treat common symptoms.
Because there are so many symptoms and even clusters of conditions connected to CIRS, it's a matter of finding what will best address the symptoms.
Basic things like getting significant sleep can significantly impact the condition overall.
Depending on the biotoxin or mold mycotoxin, some patients have success using binder medications. These medications work to attract and draw out the biotoxins from the body.
These medications might include:
- Binder medications like cholestyramine
- Activated charcoal
Supporting gut and liver function and considering the use of glutathione precursors should also be considered. Treating with anti-inflammatories such as EFAs, correcting mineral and other nutrient deficiencies and eliminating yeast or other germ overgrowth are often keys to successful treatment of CIRS. Others have successfully used a vasoactive intestinal polypeptide nasal spray, though this is not commonly used in children. Finally, additional interventions for inflammation and immune support are often needed.
Diet for Inflammatory Conditions
Addressing diet for inflammation is another avenue to treat CIRS. It's important for a patient experiencing syndrome symptoms to eat nutritionally dense foods.
Evaluating diet and making small changes can be pretty impactful. Some patients found noticeable changes within just ten days of a paleolithic diet. Others need to consider a gluten free diet and working with a dietitian or nutritionist may be helpful.
Exercise for Inflammation
Exercise doesn't sound that appealing for many experiencing chronic pain and inflammation. Yet, one avenue to reduce inflammation is through careful, gentle exercise.
Stretching exercises can help to improve flexibility and reduce inflammation in the body. Any option to increase blood flow can help address inflammation in joints. Be careful to avoid anything that causes increased pain and again work with a qualified therapist or practitioner.
Managing Inflammation Associated With Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome and its associated symptoms can be debilitating and frustrating for sufferers. Finding ways to address those symptoms can be life-changing for those with CIRS, though through correct diagnosis, remediation and appropriate treatment, you can get better.
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