I just received an e-mail from a long standing patient who's been suffereing from a barrage of unusual symptoms for the last 2-3 years. He's a 50 year old male in excellent shape, most people would think he's in his 30's. He exercises regularly, eats right, and basically has had hardly any health problems throughout his entire life. I asked his permission if I could pass along his personal story of the tragic problems he's encountered for which he only now is getting some answers. He and I both hope this information may help you and others to look deeper into a possible problem which lurks in many of our homes, and may be causing us some degree of health problems of our own...
"Dear Dr. Michael,
I thought you might be curious as to the continuation and possible resolution of my weird year of multiple health issues. To remind, in brief, it started with upper respiratory issues, inflammation in my sinuses and eustachian tubes, which evolved into tinnitus, tightness in my lugs, post nasal drip, eyes burn and puffy, pain in my joints, spine, pain radiating down my legs into my genital region and low back, tingling in my hands and feet, fatigue, etc, etc. I went to MDs, ENT Drs, got MRIs. CAT scan, every fluid work, urologist - everything came back fine. I came to see you, as well acupuncturist, nutritionist, etc. etc. I would feel better after treatment and then, within a short time, relapse right back into the problem. And it continued to get worse. I look at stress potentially being a cause. I did various stress releasing practices and “talked” to someone to see if it was coming from deep inside. Nothing worked. All I kept hearing was “you see to have chronic inflamation”, “your vegas nerve and nervous system is rattled”, “you’re in a constant fight or flight”. But why?... I kept hearing theories, none worked.
I instinctually knew it was something systemic in my everyday life. I changed all kinds of things: diet, supplements out - supplements in, it goes on and on. I ended up seeing moreDrs and having more tests in 18 months than the rest of my life combined. It was taking a mental, financial, and emotion toll as well as the physical.
So one evening, about 5 months ago, I was having dinner with some old friends. Long story short, I told them my symptoms. They said “that sounds like what was going on with our friend Jenny”. I asked, “what was it”. “Toxic mold in her house!!!” Oh my gosh, a light bulb went on over my head! Since my HOA drug their feet for years on properly fixing multiple roof leaks and water penetration into my dwelling, I noticed a subtle black mold growth in various places around the house. I know – in hindsight it seems so obvious. But NOBODY even mentioned that as an option, until that fateful night.
The next day I called a top mold specialist to perform a $700 test of the premises. Super toxic mold condition inside the house and permeating from inside the walls! She said “I’d leave right now if you can.” After much stressful effort, I moved out 4 weeks later.
I’m feeling MUCH better now. Some lingering sinus and tinnitus, but my mold specialist said “given the severity, it’s going to take 3-6 months to clear – if it ever clears…” I’m hopeful.
I’m telling you this as I count you as maybe a curious friend but also, more importantly, I want you to consider this when treating other patients that come in with a mystery set of symptoms. It could be a mold allergy (dust mites thrive in the same moist environment and reek similar havoc). Something to think about – especially if they live in the coastal communities."
If you suspect that you or someone you know may be having symptoms related to toxic mold, look up "Mold Remediation" in your area and have your home inspected. Many professionals use special high tech imaging equipment that can see through walls and spot mold without having to do anything physically to the interior of your house. Depending on the species of mold found, there are varying levels of health hazards they pose... some can even be deadly!
I hope this letter has opened up new considerations if you've tried so many avenues already to figure out unexplained symptoms you've been living with. "Environmental Medicine" is the medical speciality which deals with such kinds of exposures.