A 59-year-old patient presents to her doctor with numerous health conditions. She reports unexplained rashes, knee pain, chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia, brain fog, constipation, anxiety, and depression. Her case was not unusual insofar as the patient had been misdiagnosed with other illnesses prior to her doctor diagnosing her with CIRS. Doctors may have previously diagnosed the patient with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivities, leaky gut syndrome, dementia, multiple sclerosis, POTS, and many more. In some cases, doctors diagnose the patient with psychiatric illness or even accuse them of malingering.
For patients, getting an accurate diagnosis in time is crucial as the condition can cause autonomic nervous system failure if left untreated.
How is a diagnosis of CIRS made?
In the case mentioned above, the patient mentioned that she worked in a water-damaged building. Her symptoms were similar to those reported by other victims of CIRS. Her doctor performed a genetic test to help determine if she was at risk for acute CIRS. The test came back positive. About 24% of the population has a genetic predisposition to becoming hyper-sensitive to certain biological toxins.
Next, the doctor performed a VCS test which stands for visual contrast sensitivity. Essentially, her doctor was looking for toxins that would be present in an abnormal VCS test. Then they will perform other tests confirming the presence of specific antibodies in your blood. Hormonal imbalances will also be present and these will need to be confirmed by tests. Your doctor may perform an echocardiogram to determine if your blood has enough oxygen. An MRI may be ordered to look at your brain function. Other tests can be conducted to confirm symptoms of CIRS.
In this case, the patient reported to her doctor that she worked in a water-damaged building. The doctor immediately suspected that environmental toxins were a factor and ordered a workup for CIRS. The patient confirmed this when she reported that her symptoms seem to reduce when she is not within a water-damaged building. The patient reported that her symptoms appear to begin within 30 minutes to an hour of showing up for work. They tended to worsen throughout the day and as the work week continued.
Workers’ compensation issues
The patient’s doctor concluded that her condition was related to toxic mold exposure at her place of employment. Since her conditions improved over the weekend and in the evening, her doctor recommended that she be allowed to work remotely. His medical findings will be used to file a workers’ compensation claim with her employer.
For many who are dealing with environmental toxins on the job, you may be wondering why your coworkers aren’t getting sick too. It’s likely that some of them actually are and just don’t realize it. 24% of the population is genetically predisposed to develop CIRS from mold exposure. So the fact that everyone isn’t getting sick isn’t a valid argument against the diagnosis.
Talk to a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
If you are developing mysterious symptoms that seem to improve over the weekend, toxic exposure to environmental toxins in your workplace may be to blame. Call Schibell Law, LLC to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.