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Environmental disease: diagnosis, treatment, protection
At present, you can count on little or no help from doctors practicing the established symptom-treating mainstream medicine in the diagnosis and treatment of environmental disease. They simply are not trained for it. For that same reason, they are not able to help you by educating you about the ways of protecting yourself from harmful environmental exposures.
For this, you need one of those still rare birds among medical practitioners who departed from the comfortable - should we say, more profitable too - ways of common medical practices and learned environmental/molecular medicine, so that they can better help those who suffer.
The first unusual thing you'd notice in the environmental medicine (EM) approach is that your doctor doesn't go by "Here, I have a pill for you that should suppress those symptoms" (that is, if you are lucky enough not to qualify for unnecessary surgery). No, you will be asked to fill a detailed medical/environmental/occupational/dietary/lifestyle questionnaire, which will give to the practitioner first clues as to
what could be CAUSING your health problem.
The main goal of the diagnosing process is to find the cause of malfunction, which is then addressed by appropriate treatment.
The next unusual thing you'd experience, is that you'll need to become an active participant in the treatment process - not a mere pill slot, afraid to ask "no-no" questions, for your average Dr. Smith could feel touchy and insecure at even mention of anything outside his handy box of drugs, knives and radiation. Your nutritional profile will be determined and, according to the indications, you'll be tested for your food, mold, chemical or other intolerances, toxic metals and pesticide levels, gut health (intestinal dysbiosis, leaky gut), your detox system efficiency, immune system, total load (the extent of body's toxic contamination), and so on.
Food, chemical, mold and pollen intolerances are diagnosed with an individualized provocation-neutralization method (Rinkel, or serial titration method) for each environmental agent tested positive. In the process, both provocation and neutralization dozes for that particular agent are determined, with the neutralization doze being the last in the series of gradually stronger skin injections (the standard rate of increase is five fold) preceding the one that resulted in the immune reaction.
The reason for neutralizing effect of the lower dose is that it stimulates production of immune bodies suppressing the immune action. The immune system doesn't just jump at everything that it recognizes as foreign: that would expend too much energy and would probably hurt more than protect. Instead, as a part of the action/suppression operating mode that the immune system - as well as other bodily functions - is based on, it often gives a "visitor's pass" to foreign materials that haven't been perceived as a threat. This normally includes wide variety of low-level exogenous substances.
However, as concentration of such a substance increases, sooner or later it is likely to be perceived as a threat and trigger antigen-antibody response. For a multitude of possible reasons, some people have significantly lower than average threshold for this type of reaction, making them as much more vulnerable. Since antibodies initiating such reaction usually remain in circulation, it will take place with every subsequent exposure. But it can be
literally stopped in its tracks
if a tiny neutralizing doze of that same agent is injected under the skin, switching the immune response from attack to restrain (similar principle is the basis of homeopathy).
No one knows exactly what is the mechanism. As everything else in human body, it varies individually. In general, heightened immune response is most often caused by the immune system imbalance, due to significantly increased proportion of highly aggressive antibodies, like IgE immunoglobulin, and decreased proportion of more stable antibodies like IgG and IgA, or suppressor T-cells (such imbalance can be result of immune system damage by pesticide, or other chemical exposures). However, if properly applied,
provocation-neutralization works for the majority of patients.
In general, the lower total body contamination with multiple toxins, the quicker and more efficient it works. It has been a part of the environmental medicine practices for decades, and is well documented in the scientific papers (Diagnosis of allergy by serial dilution end-point titration, Willoughby J.W. 1979, Rea et al. 1984, Scadding et al. 1986, Boris et al. 1988, King et al. 1988, "The scientific basis for selected environmental medicine techniques", 1994, Rogers S.A., and others).
When it works, it brings immediate relief of any of the wide array of possible symptoms resulting from food/chemical/mold/pollen intolerances. Patients are dependant of periodic injections for a shorter or longer period of time, until the underlying immune imbalance and its cause are resolved (chemical intolerances are a partial exception, with other forms of treatment - such as avoidance and detoxication - generally preferred to periodic injections11).
But the treatment doesn't stop with a symptom relief - it addresses all related factors in the body as a whole. This is only a logical extension of the address-the-cause principle, in contrast to a wide variety of mainstream medicine "specialists", who know little about anything related to the body and human health outside their narrow specialty. That alone suffice in
preventing them from effectively treating most human diseases,
even if they would want to go beyond mere symptom suppression - and that is a good part of the reason why they don't even attempt to.
Naturally, the avoidance of environmental antigens identified by provocation-neutralization is still very important; it is made possible by the diagnosis. Nutritional deficiencies and imbalances are corrected with proper diet and supplementation. Detoxication - either through exercise, sauna or diet - is vital for the body to be able to resume its proper functioning.
People severely ill from an environmental disease are treated in so called environmental control unit - only a few of them operating in the US, one being run by Dr. Rea in Dallas, TX - which are meticulously build to reduce to a minimum possible presence of environmental antigens in air (which also mean all indoor materials), water, food and medicinal preparations. For some people, it is the only place where they can feel reasonably well.
Quite a common patient profile in the environmental medicine practice experience is a miserably ill person who spent years going from one "regular" doctor to another, not seldom without being able to obtain even a meaningful formal diagnosis. They may have been through unsuccessful invasive or harsh treatments, looked at as hypochondriacs or sick-for-attention personality, or having some other psychological or mental problem. And, strangely, they
may have been
luckier than those whose symptoms
by the mainstream medicine for not to look out for help that would address the actual causes of their health problem.
This short description of environmental disease barely scratches the surface of the extent and complexity of the body-environment interactions and their health consequences. As always, a real-life examples are best possible illustration of the main points that should be made.
Case history #113: A 39-year old consulting engineer. SYMPTOMS: Severe arthritis for year and a half, worst when at home, subsiding when out on a trip. Drugs prescribed by rheumatologists not helping. ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE (EM) DIAGNOSIS: Formaldehyde intolerance, result of high formaldehyde levels in his 2-year old home (particle board sub-flooring, new carpets and furniture, gas heating). RESOLUTION: Symptoms vanished after he moved into an older house, and minimized his formaldehyde exposure.
Case history #213: 29-year old janitor. SYMPTOMS: headache, dizziness, nausea, inability to concentrate, intermittent extreme chest pain, palpitations, muscle spasm and muscle weakness. After seeing several specialists, he had no diagnosis. EM DIAGNOSIS: "Universal reactor", a person whose detox and immune systems became so compromised by chemical exposures that he was reacting to nearly everything. RESOLUTION: Not complying with the requirements to find new job, with low chemical exposure, new home (he lived in a newly paneled and carpeted basement) and new hobby (acrylic paints), he ended up in environmental control unit, which finally convinced him that he had to make required changes (minimize its chemical exposure) in order to live normal life.
Case history #311: 8-year old boy. SYMPTOMS: Hyperactivity and aggressiveness, particularly Saturdays at home, and repeatedly in school, where his grades deteriorated. EM DIAGNOSIS: Multiple chemical intolerances; his symptoms could be turned on and off with xylene, phenol and tuolene. RESOLUTION: He had no symptoms as long as he avoided detected environmental agents he was sensitive to (chemicals emanating from TV set, Lysol spray used on desks in the school, his teacher's perfume).
Case history #411: 41-year old chairman of the theology department. SYMPTOMS: headache, body aches, tiredness, constant flu and weakness. Thorough examinations by mainstream specialists, which included lumbar puncture and brain CAT scan, did not find anything wrong. EM DIAGNOSIS: Housedust and mold intolerance. RESOLUTION: His symptoms cleared for the first time in two years after two weeks on injections and environmental controls (minimizing exposures).
Case history #511: Male with a regular office job. SYMPTOMS: Excruciating headache every Saturday, recovering Sunday, with no symptoms during the work week, for five years. EM DIAGNOSIS: Coffee intolerance; it made his body switch to the adaptation mode every Monday, and to suffer withdrawal symptoms (switch back to a normal function) every Saturday. RESOLUTION: Symptoms ceased when he stopped drinking coffee. Note how the cause was masked by nearly asymptomatic body switch to the mode needed to tolerate coffee intake, as opposed to debilitating symptoms caused by the switch back to its alternative mode.
Case history #611: Woman attendant in a parking garage. SYMPTOMS: Abdominal cramps, nausea; after series of X-rays and conventional test, nothing was found (gastroenterologist put in writing that her symptoms are "probably imaginary", because she also suffered headaches, inability to concentrate and numbness in one half of the body). EM DIAGNOSIS: Carbon monoxide intolerance. RESOLUTION: Adequate ventilation installed in her booth cleared the symptoms.
Case history #711: A 32-year old woman. SYMPTOMS: Six years (since she gave birth to her last child) of severe colitis, twelve bloody bowel movements a day; she was put on 40mg of prednisone, cortisone enemas, Azulfidine and an opiate derivative, just to have the severity of symptoms reduced (her gastroenterologist's best option was colon removal). EM DIAGNOSIS: Multiple intolerances to inhalant and food allergens, intestinal dysbiosis, nutritional deficiencies. RESOLUTION: Clear of symptoms in two months after addressing the causes and contributing factors.
Case history #811: Young male in his 20s. SYMPTOMS: Year and a half after an auto accident, he deteriorated to level where he was unable to work; seeing a number of conventional medical doctors did not help him feel better. EM DIAGNOSIS: Very low level of several vital nutrients (result of a poor diet and months of high-dose medications to control pain and muscle spasms), that probably contributed to him developing mold sensitivity as well. RESOLUTION: Back to work within a month, feeling better than before the accident.
These few real-life stories leave no doubt that knowing how to protect yourself from harmful environmental exposures are essential for preserving or regaining health in the modern world. Not only that these exposures can cause nearly any symptom of physical or mental illness imaginable; in longer term, by compromising the two main protective functions of your body - the detox and immune systems - as well as depleting you from vital nutrients, uncontrolled environmental exposures can put you on the
downward spiral of accelerated aging,
escalating oxidative and toxic damage, and closer to serious end-stage degenerative diseases, including cancer.
Yet you can get well ahead in this new game of survival by learning some basic facts about potentially harmful environmental exposures, and acting accordingly. Chances are, in this world saturated with thousands of environmental threats that we have never encountered before,
most people are vulnerable to some of them, to some extent.
You can even become intolerant to your own hormones or neurotransmitters. This can be significant, or even primary cause of debilitating PMS symptoms, and can be treated safely and effectively by injection of miniscule neutralizing doze of (most commonly) progesterone, estrone, testosterone and/or luteinizing hormone.
Obviously, it is much easier to protect yourself from known antigens, but it is usually only those that felt ill enough - and been lucky enough to turn to and get diagnosed by environmental medicine - that can take advantage of it. The rest of us can only do what is generally the right thing to do; and that can go long way.
What is the right thing to do may seem to be a lot at the first sight, but good part of it is already incorporated in a healthy lifestyle. This is what you need to do to protect yourself from from possible adverse health effects of known and unknown environmental exposures:
1 - Identify environmental threats and their sources: in the air (mold, ragweed, pollen, VOC, pesticides...), water (chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, toxic metals and many other water contaminants), food (naturally occurring food toxins, some food additives, genetically modified and irradiated foods, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, toxic metals...), any other xenobiotics, as well as energy fields
2 - Minimize your exposure.
4 - Help your body detoxify
By reducing your environmental toxic exposure and, at the same time, helping the body to get rid of toxins tending to accumulate inside your body, you are maximizing your chances to regain health, or to avoid loosing it down the road.