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People with Environmental Illness experience multisystem – multi symptom illness. The following is a list of symtoms associated with environmental illness, not everyone will have all of these.
Symptoms tend to wax and wane on a day to day basis. Symptoms can be associated with other health concerns as well.
|Nervous System||Heightened sense of smell, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering, hyperactivity, feeling groggy, headaches, depression, insomnia, anxiety, seizures, tinnitus|
|Upper Respiratory System||Stuffy/itchy nose, sinus pain or infections, blocked ears|
|Lower Respiratory System||Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma, frequent bronchitis or pneumonia|
|Eyes||Red, watery eyes, pain under eyes, blurred vision|
|Gastrointestinal System||Heartburn, nausea, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain|
|Endocrine System||Fatigue, lethargy, blood sugar fluctuations|
|Musculoskeletal system||Joint and muscle pain, muscle spasms, muscle weakness|
|Cardiovascular System||Rapid/irregular heartbeat, cold extremities, high/low blood pressure|
|Skin||Flushing, hives, eczema and other rashes, itching|
|Urinary system||Frequent, urgent urination, painful bladder spasms|
Many people experiencing a wide range of ongoing symptoms: Physical, emotional and mental are experencing diagnosed or undiagnosed Environmental Illness which is
- Toxicity – chronic poisoning – neurotoxicity / biotoxicity
- Exhaustion and depleted reserves
- and Stressor – Environmental Hypersensitivity, which can be very severe if injury to the immune, nervous system or brain has occurred
These things cause dysregulation and impairment of the nervous system and immune system and many functions in the body including detoxification, heme biosynthesis, digestion and healing.
This causes overaction of the survival response (chronic stress fight/flight response) and wide spread inflammation, which feeds into itself, causing a chronic inflammatory response, particularly to psychological and environmental threats to wellbeing.
This has a cascading impact on just about every system in the body, causing exhaustion, multiple symptoms (stress related and other) and hypersensitivities to foods and environmental factors (e.g. chemical, mold, sensory inputs) at levels that are not generally bothersome to most people.
Symptoms experienced when grouped together often represent stress disorders and central sensitivity syndromes (fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related pain syndromes). The defining symptom of CSS is fatigue, sickness behaviour and pain and discomfort experienced in an amplified way. (allodynia, hyperalgesis, hyperpathia).
To the person who has never experienced CSS the level of discomfort and pain witnessed, can look made up and exaggerated for the sake of “attention seeking or other gain”, but it is not.
MCS: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Migraine, PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, FUS/IC – Irritable Bladder syndromes, TMD: temporomandibular disorders, other
As you can see there are many Central Sensitivity Syndromes, each are defined by a cluster of symptoms that are not easily explained by other illness. It is not uncommon for people to experience many at the same time, and also other health concerns. Identifying these pain syndromes, may be helpful in treatment and symptom management, when congruent with the overall treatment approach recommended by the treating doctor.
- medical interventions, that includes supervised detoxification in order to reduce toxic body burden and addressing nutritient deficiencies.
- symptom management, which may be enhanced by identify and managing triggers for applicable central sensitivity syndromes (CSS)
- stress management and psychological interventions
- and reduced exposure to toxicants and pain and sensitivity / neuro-endo-immune dysregulation triggers.
Treatment and management is not easy, it requires the help and support of a care team. This includes a medical doctor who has specialised training in Nutrition and Environment Medicine (see ACNEM website), who has a good understanding of underlying health issues and “LINGER” concerns that are commonly linked to Environmental Illness
Fortunately a good lifestyle, dietary, exposure management and treatment plan, customised to individual circumstances, can help treat many of these LINGER concerns simultaneously.
- Liver and Heme disorders like Pyrrole or Poryphria secondary to heavy metal toxicities like lead poisoning
- Immune weakening, dysregulation and sensitisation – Mast Cell Activation Syndromes – exaggerated Cell Danger Response, low grade chronic infections, and immuno toxicity .
- Nervous system dysregulation, sensitisation (windup and sensitivity), neurotoxicity and sometimes injury (e.g. neuropathy and/or acquired brain injury – disease)
- Gut dysfunciton – poor absorbtion of nutrients, infections and dysbiosis (imbalance between good and bad bacteria is common.
- Energy making and endocrine (hormone) abnormalities
- Recovery and rest system impairment – overactivation of the chronic stress response.
It is important to understand the LINGER concerns, but you do not have to understand them to an in-depth level. That is what your Nutriton and Environmental Medicine (NEM) / Integrative health doctor is for.
If you get too hung up on individual LINGER concerns, you are likely to increase your stress and health anxiety, which can cause flares, and set backs, and even undermine your doctors “wholistic treatment approach” Which will resemble something like the one recommended for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or Mold Illness (there are many overlaps).