A guide to carbon monoxide...

Carbon monoxide statistics are wrong!

Carbon monoxide statistics are flat-out wrong. Why? Because symptoms from carbon monoxide poisoning mimic a huge range of common health problems. This misleads survivors and health professionals, almost always leading to the wrong diagnosis.

Even though someone may have been exposed to carbon monoxide and experience symptoms typical of poisoning, the overwhelming majority of mild to mid level poisonings do not end up in doctors offices or emergency rooms. Therefore, are never identified, diagnosed or accounted for in statistics.

While its victim are usually aware they are experiencing a range of symptoms, they are almost always unaware that they are due to carbon monoxide. A survivor may then go on to experience a range of health issues and never know the underlying cause.

As symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be so varied and imitate so many common health issues the link to carbon monoxide exposure is very frequently missed in emergency rooms - and even more commonly missed in clinics and doctors offices.

Even when medical attention is sought, the vast majority of cases are misdiagnosed so the connection to carbon monoxide is never identified, recorded or tracked in any way.

Survivors never learn they are victims of carbon monoxide poisoning even though they may continue to seek treatment for directly related health issues and experience short term effects, long term effects, neurological problems, endocrine problems, and other health issues - from cellular damage, all without ever knowing the real cause.

Two or more people arriving at the same hospital from the same location with similar symptoms are more likely to be accurately diagnosed. However, a health professional is [much] more likely to think of a microbial cause, drug interaction, or drug overdose than CO poisoning.

Accurate carbon monoxide statistics rely on both accurate reporting and accurate diagnosis. There is no way to know how many cases are misdiagnosed, there are only guesstimates. Some experts say that for every case accurately diagnosed, there are at least ten that are misdiagnosed. Others say the number may be [much] higher.

The world is packed with an almost endless number of sources of carbon monoxide. This means there are potentially a significant number of people being poisoned by without knowing the cause of their health issues. These poisonings are never tracked or even estimated in carbon monoxide statistics.

Something that further distorts carbon monoxide statistics is that even when survivors are properly diagnosed, there are no systems in place to report or track their ongoing health issues (in any country that we are aware of).

Just how large and how deep does the carbon monoxide poisoning "iceberg" go? Nobody knows because carbon monoxide statistics are wrong wrong wrong!

Medical doctors, biochemists, and toxicologists readily recognize carbon monoxide dangers while at unsafe levels in the air and unsafe levels in the body/bloodstream but as a rule, have a limited understanding of the true impact, subtleties, and long term effects of poisoning.

Survivors that "connect the dots" and realize their ongoing effects are tied to their poisoning are the ones that "get it."

Your comments about carbon monoxide poisoning...

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Questions? Want to share your opinion? Do it here...
Pete from England
Like most people on here I suffer the same problems not least doctors telling you are fine after 24 hours! I had a gas cooker which we believe was leaking fumes for years! went to A+E hospital sent us home we had severe frontal headaches for a couple of months and kept falling asleep at any time? feel dissorientated and coordination is poor- memories bad too! If i have a bath or wash my hair next day i wake up i feel extemely tired feel like my brain is swollen told this to doctor -they really dont know what to say? interestingly the cat vanished out the house for two weeks before we had an emergency gas engineer out to cap the gas off!

Misdiagnose and Long Tern affects
Chuck from Jacksonville
Four years ago I suffered co poisoning. This lead to a life flight to the emergency room. The Docors diagnose me with a drug over dose. After realizing that I was not a drug user they did a metals test with a blood test. This test found out that I had co poisoning. After putting me closer to death and realizing it was to late to send me to a hospital 5 miles away that had decompression chamber it was Gods fate I am still here. At 56 years old my memory and cognition is in question.
I feel the pressure at work when not remembering or having the knowledge to complete my task. Not sure weather to see a Doctor or try a Medical retirement.

2 months of a gas leak in my home
Rose (Marie) Bernauer from Windsor, Ontario
l moved into a cute little place l thought to call home when l came in after the tenant moved out l told the landlords that l smelled something funny in the basement and down staircase sometimes it smelled of urine but near and in bathroom it smells of gas they kept saying they would come check after their vacation l did not think of gas when they came back after a month they started doing other things but l kept saying about the smell when l said l was calling gas company the husband came and knew exactly where the leak was and came with a bottle of soapy water and he said yep it is their and tightened the valve he said l would still smell a little as he needed to replace it but since things kept slipping his mind and took constant reminders l called the gas company they came and said they could turn it off and make him repair that night l asked was it ok til next day he said yes l was told by gas company lady on the phone about the dangers but thought ok danger over with and 2-3 days later pipe was removed but since l moved in my right hand has been going numb and tingling and my headaches are getting so intense and severe and even now days after l can't do anything no real ventilation only 2 very tiny windows in basement l bought an air system to help also on my contract to live here they made sure l knew the basement was not to be a living area but how can they say that when the only bathroom is there laundry room and 2 spares rooms .......anyways today l can not do anything l just finally got up after taking all kinds of pain killers and my daughter said to drink lots of water l am 57 yrs old been here 2 months and have smelt this everyday it was strong and l was doing a lot in the basement plus my computer is down their please help me what should l do .if anyone would like to contact me please do rbernauer@yahoo.ca as l see no place to add my email addy........

Misdiagnoses will continue until the culture changes
Brian Seymour from Northwestern California
What you say about the prevalence of misdiagnoses is consistent with what I've found about a similar pattern of such failures by our medical providers in connection with many other conditions with subtle, ambiguous effects that cannot readily be traced to a specific cause. Unfortunately, this has been going on for some time, and I am not optimistic that it will soon change.

The most obvious reason for this is the ambiguity itself: In brief, it is a real challenge for overworked and often underinformed medical professionals to understand such issues, even assuming that they feel motivated to do so.

Compounding this, I suspect, is a cultural/economic factor. With very few exceptions, medical providers are fully indoctrinated members of a conservative, skeptical culture that tends to discount self-reports and independent research on the part of patients. Like many other "professionals" of various stripes, they derive a strong sense of community -- and a hefty dose of contempt for those outside that community -- from what they perceive as specialized knowledge that, in their opinion, the "lay" public is not mentally equipped to understand. This is all too human; most of us seem to need this sense of identity and superiority, and will sometimes go to great lengths to find justification for it.

Worst, doctors are themselves victims of disinformation. Corporations with a strong pecuniary motive and little apparent restraint from conscience sell products that we know to be hazardous and potentially fatal. To the extent that the dangers their merchandise poses become known to the public, they risk losing sales. This induces them to use every means at their disposal to hinder the development of such awareness; often, this process begins in our medical schools, where future doctors are trained in facilities underwritten by precisely the corporations that have most to gain by suppressing knowledge dangerous to their profits.

If you wonder how it took until the 1990s for the US medical establishment to begin to acknowledge the dangers of second-hand smoke, when the surgeon general had promulgated warnings of the dangers of direct smoking since 1964, examine the record of tobacco companies' "contributions" to medical causes, as well as to political campaigns, over the intervening decades.

Since it turns out that almost every significant source of carbon monoxide is traceable to consumer products (such as automobiles, cigarettes, gas-powered appliances and fireplaces/wood stoves), and since so many medical associations benefit from grants made by the companies that produce them, it can hardly surprise us when those associations -- and the doctors they comprise -- sneer at reports of poisoning caused by those products and lay the symptoms we report to psychological rather than objective physiological causes.

@ Kevin

Be weary
When it comes to co poisoning I am very leery of doctors and other so called professionals. None I have seen knows a damn thing other than it is dangerous. Why we have faith in these people is beyond me.

All of them feared litigation
Casandra from UK
All of us are concerned. Once diagnosis was confirmed and the leak source was found the buck passing started between all the different professionals.

chronic fatigue syndrome
craig gurnee from michigan
Do you suppose co poisening could be the answer to the many mystery's of chronic fatigue syndrome?

Perhaps the American Medical Association should employ a study? Just a thought!!!

Jim West
Great website. Exactly on target. The medical misinfo has been going on since they invented the words cold and flu (flue). It blinds environmentalists.

Most public awareness is limited to wood stoves or third world countries, but as you note, the problem is epidemic in modern nations. http://harpub.co.cc

Kevin from Colorado
Makes a lot of sense. Too bad nobody actually bothers to realistically estimate how many people actually a) have had carbon monoxide poisoning and b) are living with at least some symptoms.

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