Mold Illness: What It Is and How You Know if You Have It
Mold. You might not be able to see or smell it, yet it may be growing in your house and the reason you feel sick. Mold poisoning may be impacting your health. How do you know? In this article, we will explain what mold illness is and who is susceptible.
Most likely your regular physician won’t be much assistance. Conventional medication doesn’t truly believe that mold exposure is an issue. Plus it can be difficult to identify somebody with mold toxicity; it can imitate many other conditions and signs are nonspecific.
Signs of Mold Illness
- Memory problems, brain fog, problem with focus and executive function
- Fatigue, weakness, post-exercise malaise and tiredness
- Muscle cramping, pains and discomforts, joint discomfort without inflammatory arthritis, persistent nerve discomfort, “ice pick” pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Light sensitivity, red eyes, and/or blurred vision
- Sinus issues, cough, shortness of breath, air hunger, asthma-like symptoms
- Persistent nerve discomfort
- Stomach pain, queasiness, diarrhea, hunger changes
- Metallic taste
- Weight gain in spite of sufficient effort (weight loss resistance).
- Night sweats or other issues with temperature regulation.
- Extreme thirst.
- Increased urination.
- Static “shocks”.
See how quickly mold poisoning could go undetected, or mistaken for other conditions? Yet three decades of good scientific proof points to the severe illness that mold can cause.
The Low-down on Mold
So, exactly what is mold? Molds are numerous types of fungi that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming small spores that sprout and fly away, undetectable to the naked eye. Mold grows in wet, warm, and humid locations, inside and outside. Even if you live in a dry place such as Arizona or Nevada, mold can be an issue if there are water leaks, inadequately ventilated restrooms, or floods.
Mold can grow in your bathroom, in the showerhead, or in the corner near your shower, specifically if the room is not well ventilated. Mold can connect to your shoes, animals, clothes, carpets, furnishings, books, and documents. Mold can circulate in your air system, especially if you’re one of those people that rarely changes its filters. (The recommendation is to change HVAC filters once every 1 to 3 months!).
In general, water-damaged buildings produce a complex mixture of contaminants present in the air and dust, resulting in a toxic chemical stew. Also, mold produces poisonous chemicals called mycotoxins, present on spores and pieces of mold released into the air. No single contaminant is accountable for all mold health problem; rather, it’s better to think about the cause as the water-damaged area or building itself. One current review linked the sinuses as a common source of continuous mold disease.
Would you believe that half of the buildings in the United States are water damaged, leading to the growth of mold and the capacity of mold health problems in vulnerable individuals? Given that the majority of us invest considerable time at home and indoor workspace, there’s a good chance you have actually been exposed to water damage and mold. When you buy a house, the inspector includes mold issues on the house report– obviously, it’s not an advantage.
So why is mold an issue? Mold toxicity falls under the larger classification of biotoxin health problem, also known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, knows everything about mold. He’s the author of eight books, including Surviving Mold: Life in the Age of Dangerous Buildings. He specifies CIRS in this manner:
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) is “a severe and chronic, systemic inflammatory response gotten following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, however not limited to fungis, bacteria, actinomycetes, and mycobacterium in addition to inflammagens … “.
That science moment may have made your eyes glaze over, so consider this comment from Dr. Shoemaker: “24 percent of individuals cannot make sufficient antibody responses, and they’re the ones that comprise over 95 percent of people who have an illness from water-damaged buildings.” That leads us to our next topic, which is the role of your DNA in making you basically prone to mold disease.
Why Some People Are Susceptible
As discussed by Dr. Shoemaker, roughly 24 percent of the population is genetically susceptible to mold toxicity; they have a certain immune response gene (HLA-DR). If you’re one of those individuals with mold susceptibility genes, you are far more likely to have an adverse response to mold when exposed to an adequate quantity. In fact, 95 percent of mold illness occurs in this subgroup. In addition, there’s 2 percent who are particularly susceptible with a “sicker quicker” variation of the genes. If you aren’t susceptible, your chances are lower but not zero.
Individuals who are genetically mold prone aren’t able to recognize particular toxins as toxins, such as mold, and the toxins get recirculated in their bodies. As a result, the contaminants, in this case mold, set off a persistent inflammatory response. Most of these folks do not know that they have a hereditary susceptibility.
Mold health problem from water-damaged structures is a serious health issue. It’s not an allergy; it’s a state of persistent inflammation triggered by the body immune system becoming out of whack. The CIRS doesn’t heal on its own, will not ease off, and will continue to provoke disease unless it’s treated. Their illness is built into their DNA and as soon as set off, the inflammatory reaction and resulting symptoms can last for years.
Making a diagnosis of CIRS, experts have actually agreed that you need to satisfy the following requirements.
- History, signs, and symptoms constant with biotoxin exposure. In cases of mold toxicity, history should include exposure to toxin-producing molds as documented by the EPA-approved ERMI test. In other cases (microcystin, ciguatera, and so on), history must include likely exposure or laboratory proof of exposure.
- A hereditary predisposition to biotoxin-related disease based upon identification of an HLA susceptible haplotype.
- Irregularities documented by Visual Contrast Level of sensitivity (VCS) screening.
- Biomarkers consistent with the neuroimmune, vascular, and endocrine abnormalities that define CIRS. If you have a history consistent with biotoxin direct exposure, a vulnerable genotype, and an unusual VCS test, you are likely to show the laboratory abnormalities seen in CIRS. Major and small criteria are a work in progress.
What to Do Next
If you suspect you may have a problem with mold, we recommend the following steps.
Start to learn more about mold health problems. Start with Dr. Shoemaker’s exceptional website and book, Surviving Mold.
Test your home for mold. One the very best tests is called an ERMI, and we recommend that you employ an environmental expert to perform a visual assessment of your home and sample several rooms. You can carry out an ERMI by yourself at a lower rate, but it’s just practical if it’s positive, in which case you’ll need to employ an environmental professional. So we recommend skip the self-testing.
Deal with a clinician trained in the Shoemaker Procedure.