CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome)


About 25% of the American population has a gene that increases their susceptibility to developing Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). CIRS is a complex condition. Individuals often spend years without a proper diagnosis.

They receive a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ADHD, fibromyalgia, or other diagnoses. Some doctors believe Alzheimer’s Disease may be CIRS. 

What Is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)?

Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome is often called mold biotoxin illness and is a multisystem, multiple-symptom condition that occurs when individuals are exposed to mold biotoxins and the body can’t correctly detoxify.

The immune system is activated and stays on high alert, producing inflammatory cytokines. If the immune system remains activated for too long, it can become weakened from being overworked. This can lead to the immune system attacking benign tissues, causing inflammation and often autoimmune diseases. 

The top, most common ways to develop Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome are:

  • Exposure to a water-damaged building
  • Tick-bite-related diseases like Lyme disease or co-infections
  • Exposure to waterborne toxin producers like Pfiesteria or Ciguatera, e.g. ingestion of poisoned fish
  • Other Biotoxinsm e.g. direct contact with Contaminated Water

How Can I Become Exposed?

Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome was initially thought to be caused only by mold exposure.  However, the following biotoxins can also be possible underlying causes of CIRS.  

  •  Heavy Metal Toxicity
  • Tick or Spider Bite
  • Ingestion of Poisoned Fish
  • Direct Contact with Contaminated Water

CIRS Symptoms

Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome affects multiple systems in the body and produces various symptoms, there are 13 unique clusters. Some symptoms of chronic mold exposure can overlap with other illnesses; these symptoms are specific to a Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome diagnosis. If you or your child exhibit six to eight symptoms, you or they should be tested for CIRS. 

  1. Abdominal pain, numbness, diarrhea
  2. Disorientation, metallic taste in the mouth, tearing of the eyes
  3. Shortness of breath and congested sinuses
  4. Decreased word finding and impaired memory
  5. Light sensitivity, headache, body aches, and weakness
  6. Tingling or sensitive skin: Pins and needles tingling, rashes, and skin sensitivity
  7. Red eyes, blurred vision, mood swings, brain fog, sweats, and ice-pick pain
  8. Muscle cramps, morning stiffness, and joint pain
  9. Overwhelming fatigue
  10. Static shocks and vertigo
  11. Difficulty concentrating
  12. Confusion, cough, or excessive thirst
  13. Increased urinary frequency, appetite swings, and difficulty regulating body temperature

Although these symptoms are often a part of another condition, if you have many of the symptoms, you should consider getting tested for CIRS.

CIRS Testing  

Since CIRS is often misdiagnosed, specific tests are needed for a proper diagnosis to develop a treatment plan. Blood and urine tests can check for CIRS biomarkers. Because VEGF is a protein not produced efficiently in people with CIRS, testing for it can help. Low MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone) levels can also be an indicator. A Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test which tests a person’s ability to see details at various contrast levels is inexpensive but helpful.

Once diagnosed, the individual’s environment should be tested for mold. The ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) tests the dust in the building and can be done by the individual. The building is swabbed with a specific cloth, then sent to a laboratory that identifies which strains of mold are present.

Today’s Integrative Health specializes in Functional Medicine – a personalized approach for patients, dealing with the primary prevention and underlying causes of Chronic Disease. 

CIRS Treatment

If you suspect you are dealing with CIRS, you need to work with a doctor familiar with the condition. Dr. Leo understands and has helped many patients walk this path.

Call to schedule an appointment for CIRS testing. We look forward to helping you with your health concerns! We are located at 6321 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD 20852, in the Executive office park. 

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Picture of Dr. L. J. Leo

Dr. L. J. Leo

Dr. Leo began his education at the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he earned his doctorate in osteopathy. He completed his internal medicine residency through the U.S. Army and had the honor of serving multiple overseas tours before retirement.

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