This article written by Dr. Johnson was originally published in Katy Trail Weekly.
Previously, we have broached the topics of mold exposure and housing situations that produce sickness. The same symptoms discussed were fatigue, fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, nausea, visual disturbances, rashes, shortness of breath, “brain fog,” cognitive dysfunction, numbness and tingling of skin.
These can be caused by other underlying factors and it is especially frustrating when all the standard laboratory tests are negative and physicians have instated trials of therapy with little or no health improvement. People many times resort the self- treatment with vitamins, minerals and herbs with varying results but no resolution.
Labels attached to these individuals may include Chronic fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Mononucleosis (EBV), Chronic Lyme Disease, different chronic virus or bacterial infections (CMV, etc.), leaky gut, parasitic infection or Mast Cell Activation syndrome. A diagnostic label gives some people comfort but little help in resolving the problem.
This situation presents a challenge to both patient and physician as determining the specific cause becomes even more important so that a cause directed treatment approach can be instated.
How is this done? A timeline history of health problems along with living and/or work situation needs to be recorded to determine time and place of symptom onset. This allows us to determine changes in environment that occurred area of country, different allergens in new area or amount in current residence/work, different lawn, pesticides, or cleaning products (always read labels for content), emissions from close by factories, natural environmental factors and disease vectors in the area like carriers such as tics, mosquitoes and fleas, contact with others with like symptoms, Mononucleosis or other transmittable diseases, potential exposure at work due to chemicals, mold, or poor air quality and travel in a time close to the onset of symptoms.
By creating a timeline of health and illness, a better idea of the time and place of onset can be determined and then discussed with your physician. The environmental and industrial changes surrounding the onset of your illness may need to be researched thru the EPA, Toxic Waste sites and also be discussion the physician.
If your physician is unwilling or does not have the time or interest then it is important to find one that is focused on doing specific diagnostic testing to find the underlying cause, generally one with internal medicine and environmental training.
Specific tests for acute infection are generally PCR (genetic) based showing presence of the organism in blood or secretions. An example of this is the COVID 19 nasal swab, a PCR test. Upon exposure, the body also reacts by producing antibodies to the individual insults. The immediate response is an IgM (immunoglobulin M) response.
Days to weeks later an immunoglobulin G (IgG) response occurs if the individual is not immune deficient. In those individuals they have low IgG and may produce a lower or no response. IgM positive means acute infection. IgG elevated levels mean past exposure or serial elevation may mean reactivation in the case of EBV. Interpreting the IgG tests must be done with caution as a virus or mold IgG antibody may cross react in the test tube causing a false positive in other IgG tests. Just because your IgG level is positive does not mean you have that specific infection now.
An example is in the EBV antibody panel test (acute and chronic Mononucleosis). The IgG portion may be falsely elevated by mold or virus exposure creating confusion of reactivation.
Another confusing test is the Lyme Western Blot Test were IgG antibodies measure the presence of specific proteins. These proteins are found in many organisms, just not Lyme. The CDC has a specific criterion for the number of bands present for the test to be considered a positive IgG test (past exposure) or IgM test (acute exposure). If this criterion is not met, then one is considered negative for Lyme. Treatment failures probably mean that there is another underlying condition.
Hidden causes include toxic substances such as heavy metals, pesticides, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide and volatile organic chemical compounds which include mycotoxins from mold. Toxins affect the body in such an adverse way, at the cellular level including the mitochondria (the energy engines of the body), that until the toxic problem is resolved the body has a difficult time recovering (person symptom free).
Mycotoxins are measured by a urine test thru Realtime Labs, Carrollton in requested by you or your physician.
Once the cause is defined then a treatment plan can be designed for your individual need.