– Ronald Grisanti, D.C., D.A.B.C.O., M.S., is the medical director of Functional Medicine University
This special report will greatly interest you if you are one of the 33 million people suffering from a sinus infection. Not a day goes by in my office that I don’t see a patient complaining of a runny nose, facial pain, “sinus” headache, you know the pain…it is simply “miserable.” This report is a summary of a patient I treated with chronic sinusitis. The patient’s name is Marilyn. Marilyn is a 38-year-old mother of two working part-time legal secretary for a prominent personal injury law firm. Marilyn’s sinus problems go back over four years. She was first seen by her primary medical physician, then referred to an allergist, then to an internist, and consulted with a chiropractor, hoping maybe chiropractic adjustments would relieve her of her chronic sinus suffering. Marilyn’s problem did not improve. If anything, she got worse (excuse the English slang). As typical for many sinuses, Marilyn was prescribed clarithromycin, antibiotics, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine, oral decongestants, phenylephrine hydrochloride, a nasal spray decongestant, and anti-histamines. Finally, a short course of steroids – Nothing worked “long term.” Marilyn was, to say the least, extremely frustrated and, to be quite honest, very reluctant to see me. She figured after four years of trying “the best that medicine has to offer,” that she would have to settle for the fact that sinus pain would be a permanent part of her life. On Marilyn’s first visit, I sensed she had “mixed” feelings about being in my office. On the one hand, she was “fed up” having to go day after day with a runny nose and all the terrible symptoms, and on the other hand, she pretty much was resigned to “make due” to her present circumstances. Overall, deep down, Marilyn was hoping I could help, but on the surface, I could tell she was not expecting much more in relief. Before seeing Marilyn, as with all patients, I requested a copy of all her medical records and saw that three different physicians had seen her. As noted above, Marilyn was prescribed various medications and told to avoid cat dander, pollen, dust, and several common trees. The impossible was asked of her. If only she lived in a “bubble,” maybe she could avoid such things. (Sorry for my sarcasm). As Marilyn “poured” her heart out, she explained how disappointed she had to go year after year with these symptoms. She kept telling me that she realized that there were people with worse problems than hers and felt silly being in my office. I reassured her that her problem… although not life-threatening deserved the same attention as any other condition. I further explained that any condition that interferes with your life and your ability to be productive is worthy of my or any physician’s time. After carefully reviewing Marilyn’s case, I ordered an IgG Food Sensitivity Assay and an Airborne IgE Assay. Let me explain; Marilyn was tested approximately two years ago by an allergist using the traditional “skin prick or scratch test.” This test will only detect an IgE reaction, meaning an “immediate” reaction, commonly called a Type I immune reaction. An IgG Food Sensitivity Assay is commonly called a Type 3 Delayed-Onset Immune Reaction. The IgG Food Allergy Test and the IgE Airborne Test required “one” vial of blood and were sent off to Immuno Labs. The turn-around time is usually ten working days. When I received the results, I was surprised to discover that Marilyn’s IgG food allergy test DID NOT reveal any allergic reactions to a specific food; however, what was discovered on her IgE airborne allergy test was to be the “answer” to her four-year battle with sinusitis. As mentioned a few moments ago, Marilyn was tested using the traditional skin prick method for an IgE allergen and found to be reactive to cat dander, pollen, and specific tree. When I reviewed the test results I ordered, Marilyn was reactive to cat dander and weed pollen. However, one allergen was overlooked and was “off the charts”.. Allergic reactions are graded 0, +1, +2, +3, and +4, with 0 indicating no reaction and +4 indicating a severe reaction. Her test revealed a +4 Alternaria reaction. Let me quote a few lines from the Mayo Clinic article written by Ronald Lawrence, M.D. Mayo Clinic Findings on Sinus Infections New research reveals that an immune system response to a common fungus causes more than 90% of sinus problems. Recently, the Mayo Clinic study confirmed the findings of additional studies indicating that fungi cause might cause many types of sinus problems. The airborne mold Alternaria is a common cause of fungal sinusitis. The study revealed that both Aspergillus and Alternaria interfere with the nerve impulses in your nasal passages and take up lodging there, paving the way for a full-blown infection. The presence of both molds accelerates redness and swelling. Unfortunately, antibiotics and decongestants can worsen the condition by allowing the fungus to thrive. Antibiotics were designed to eliminate bacteria, not fungi. Decongestants are incapable of stopping the spread of fungi in the sinuses. Wow! Isn’t that interesting? I remember reviewing the results with Marilyn and all the medical abstracts supporting the relationship between chronic sinusitis and fungal infections. Marilyn looked at me with a “blank” stare and asked, “why didn’t the three doctors she saw over the last four years ever check her for fungal infections?” I reassured her that her doctors were doing what they had been trained to do and in no way wanted her to suffer over these last four years. Based on this new information, the following were the “exact” treatments I recommended: a) I called her primary physician and reviewed Marilyn’s findings, and asked if he would prescribe an antifungal medication. Of course, he was reluctant at first. However, after he reviewed the medical support documentation (see below), he was willing to do a trial of Fluconazole. b) I recommended following the Fluconazole with a natural anti-microbial product for two weeks. c) I had Marilyn do a thorough check of her home and see if she could find any mold build-up (which she did on her bedroom window baseboard) d) I suggested that Marilyn purchase a “micro” H.E.P.A. filter to use in her bedroom. Marilyn’s Results: One week after her first Fluconazole prescription, Marilyn was 50% better. Three weeks after starting the natural anti-microbial and purchasing a “micro” HEPA filter, Marilyn admitted feeling 90% better. I recently spoke to Marilyn, and she has not had a problem with her sinuses for over three months. She was ecstatic and couldn’t contain her enthusiasm..Her physician was interested in learning more about functional medicine and wanted lunch with me. Dr. Grisanti’s Comments: I am glad that Marilyn has done so well and that we finally found the reason for her chronic sinus problems. I want to be certain that everyone reading this DOES NOT phone their doctor and ask for a prescription for Fluconazole or any other antifungal medication. Although it is entirely possible that you might be suffering from an Alternaria fungal infection, I wouldn’t attempt to self-treat. You see, I see many patients with different health challenges and understand that there is NO “one treatment fits all” solution to the array of health conditions. You have heard me say, “I treat the patient, not the condition.” Unlike the drug ads on television or any major magazine promoting a drug for X.Y.Z. disease, my approach is very logical. I look for the underlying “cause(s)” of a patient’s problem. Remember this… and remember it well.I can have three patients suffering from sinus problems, and each one may have a different reason for their sinus condition. One may suffer from an Alternaria fungal infection, another from a food allergy, and yet another from poor detoxification function (yes, I did say detoxification). Each of these patients would require completely different treatments. Ask yourself this question: What would happen if I treat a patient suffering from a food allergy-related sinus problem with an antifungal medication? Yes, you are right. Nothing.. the patient would not improve… Remember, find the cause, match it with the correct treatment, and often the patient experiences an amazing improvement. Please understand that finding the cause(s) of a patient’s health challenge is not always simple but is worth doing your due diligence to be uncovered. Remember, if you suffer from sinus problems or any health challenge, I want to ask if your physician is looking for the cause or simply “masking” the symptoms with the most popular advertised drug. Think about it. Ronald Grisanti, D.C., D.A.B.C.O., M.S., is the medical director of Functional Medicine University. If you want to improve your diagnostic skills and increase your community reputation and recognition, we strongly recommend subscribing to our Free Clinical Rounds Series. These challenging case studies will give you the unique opportunity to test your clinical skills and, at the same time, improve your ability to handle many of the most difficult cases. Go to the following link to get your free access: http://www.Clinical-Rounds.com. REFERENCES: Cody DT 2nd, McCaffrey TV, Roberts G, Kern EB. Effects of Aspergillus fumigatus and Alternaria alternata on the human ciliated epithelium in vitro. Laryngoscope. 1997 Nov;107(11 Pt 1):1511-4. Cody DT 2nd, Neel HB 3rd, Ferreiro JA, Roberts GD. Allergic fungal sinusitis: the Mayo Clinic experience. Laryngoscope. 1994 Sep;104(9):1074-9. Vennewald I, Henker M, Klemm E, Seebacher C. Fungal colonization of the paranasal sinuses. Mycoses. 1999;42 (Suppl 2):33-6. Andes D, Proctor R, Bush RK, Pasic TR Report of successful prolonged antifungal therapy for refractory allergic fungal sinusitis. Clin Infect Dis. 2000 Jul;31(1):202-4. Karpovich-Tate N, Dewey FM, Smith EJ, Lund VJ, Gurr PA, Gurr SJ. Detection of fungi in sinus fluid of patients with allergic fungal rhinosinusitis. Acta Otolaryngol. 2000 Mar;120(2):296-302. Catten MD, Murr AH, Goldstein JA, Mhatre AN, Lalwani AK. Detection of fungi in the nasal mucosa using polymerase chain reaction. Laryngoscope. 2001 Mar;111(3):399-403.
Can you please provide a link to the Mayo clinic article (by Ronald Lawrence, MD) you reference above? Thanks!