The Difficulty of Diagnosing CIRS

Why CIRS Is Often Misdiagnosed

Chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) is an increasingly common condition, but one that is often misdiagnosed and left untreated. Estimates indicate that up to a quarter of the population may be susceptile to CIRS and that the condition can easily go unnoticed due to a range of other related diseases and syndromes. The Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) test is one of the diagnostic tools for CIRS, but sadly, many medical practitioners are still unaware of the condition. In this article, we explore the complexities of CIRS and why it can be so hard to identify and treat.

What Is CIRS?

CIRS is an illness caused by biotoxin exposure, which can include internal and environmental factors, and the case rate has been increasing due to environmental pollution, global warming and the spread of toxins through water damage and mold. Patients with CIRS usually also meet the criteria for other inflammatory diseases such as fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, post-treatment Lyme syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. CIRS symptoms are non-specific which makes them difficult to identify.

CIRS symptoms vary depending on the individual, but common signs and symptoms may include:

  • fatigue,
  • cognitive dysfunction,
  • headache,
  • mood swings,
  • joint and muscle pain,
  • difficulty sleeping,
  • increased sensitivity to chemicals and infections,
  • rashes,
  • gastrointestinal issues,
  • respiratory problems.

In some cases, symptoms may worsen when exposed to environmental triggers, such as mold, smoke, or certain foods.

How Can We Test for CIRS?

The Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) test is the best way to identify CIRS and can be done at a CIRS-aware clinician’s office. Alternatively, two online versions of the VCS test can be found on the website Surviving Mold, available for $15, and, offered for free with an optional $10 donation. One advantage of the VCSTest is the Online Contrast Sensitivity Test (OCST), which controls for display calibration. The VCS test carries a 92 percent accuracy rate in positively identifying CIRS, which can then be further used to explore and to confirm the biotoxin illness (some blood lab markers used, as well as functional medicine tests such as Organic Acid Test and MycoTox tests).

Not a DIY Problem

Although the VCS test is reliable, there are also limitations to the reliability of any one test. While the VCS test can not definitively confirm the diagnosis on its own, it can be used as a basis for diagnosis. However, treatment must be carried out by a CIRS-aware or mold-literate clinician, as the disease can be complicated to diagnose and treat. Tests may also need to be repeated to see the progress of the treatment.

In conclusion, Chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) can often be easily overlooked if conventional medical practitioners are unaware of it. The Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) test is the first step and diagnostic tool for CIRS and should be administered either in a practitioner’s office or online. The correlation of symptoms and the laboratory results is very important too.