Mold Illness: What It Is and How You Know if You Have It
Although sometimes mold can’t be seen or smelled, it can still be growing inside your home making you feel sick. Your health might be affected by the mold poisoning, but how to know that? In this article, we are going to discuss about the mold illness and those susceptible to it. In a future post, we will tell you what to do about it.
The regular doctor will not be of much help here as the conventional medicine does not believe that mold exposure can cause health issues. Also, it is hard to diagnose somebody with mold toxicity due to it mimics other symptoms and conditions.
Symptoms of Mold Illness:
– Weakness, fatigue, and post-exercise malaise
– Memory problems, trouble with focus and executive function, brain fog
– Joint pain without inflammatory arthritis, muscle cramping, aches and pains, persistent nerve pain, “ice pick” pain
– Numbness and tingling
– Red eyes, and/or blurred vision, light sensitivity
– Sinus problems, shortness of breath, cough, air hunger, asthma-like symptoms
– Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, appetite changes
– Persistent nerve pain
– Metallic taste
– Night sweats or other problems connected to temperature regulation
– Weight gain regardless of the sufficient effort (weight loss resistance)
– Excessive thirst
– Static “shocks”
– Increased urination
You can now see how mold toxicity can be easily mistaken with some other condition. However, thirty years of solid scientific evidence shows the severe health issue that mold can cause.
The Low-down on Mold
Mold is a multiple type of fungi which is growing in filaments. They reproduce by forming very small spores which sprout and fly away. Places where mold grows are damp, warm, and humid, inside and outside. Even if the place where you live is dry, there can appear mold if water leaks somewhere, or if there are poorly ventilated bathrooms, or even floods. It can grow anywhere, attaching your shoes, pets, clothes, carpets, books, furniture, and papers. It can circulate in the air system, especially if you do not change the filters.
Water-damaged places create a mixture of contaminants which are present in the air and dust, resulting into a toxic chemical stew. It produces toxic chemicalsnamed mycotoxins that appear in the spores and fragments of mold into the air.
No toxin from the mold is reponsible for all mold illnesses, but the cause is the water-damaged area itself. A recent review connected sinuses as a common source of ongoing mold illnesses.
Half of buildings in the United States are water damaged, leading to the growth of mold and the potential for mold illness in susceptible individuals? Given that most of us spend significant time in a home and indoor workspace, there’s a good chance you’ve been exposed to water damage and mold.When you buy a home, the inspector includes mold problems on the house report—obviously, it’s not a good thing.
So why is mold a problem? Mold toxicity falls under the larger category of biotoxin illness, also known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, knows all about mold. He’s the author of eight books, including Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings. He defines CIRS this way:
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) is “an acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, and mycobacterium as well as inflammagens … “
You are probably shocked from this mold definition, but the mold expert continues to explain that 24% of the population is not able to create antibody responses, and these people take 95% of those who have an illness developed from water-damaged building. So, we will proceed explaining the DNA role in making people more or less susceptible to this illness.
Why Some People Are Susceptible
As Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker explains, 24% of people are genetically vulnerable to mold poisoning and these possess the Human Leukocyte Antigen – antigen D Related (HLA-DR). People with mold susceptibility genes have higher chances to have an adverse reaction to mold, upon exposure to sufficient amounts. Actually, 95% of mold poisoning appear in this subgroup. Moreover, 2% are especially susceptible with “quicker sicker” genes variation. The chances of those who aren’t susceptible are lower but not zero.
Those who are genetically susceptible to mold can’t recognize specific toxins as toxins, like mold, which gets recirculated in their bodies. This will lead to a persistent inflammatory response triggered by the toxins/mold. Majority of these people aren’t even aware that they have a genetic mold susceptibility.
Water-damaged buildings cause mold illness which is a severe health issue and not an allergy, but a chronic inflammation provoked by a disordered immune system. The CIRS won’t subside, heal on its own, and will proceed to cause illness if not properly treated. Once the illness, sustained in their DNA, is triggered, the inflammation and resulting symptoms might last for years.
These are the criteria that have to be met in order to make a diagnosis of CIRS:
1. Any signs, symptoms, or history of biotoxin exposure. If the case is mold toxicity, history has to include toxin-producing mold exposure, and in other cases like ciguatera or mycrocystin, history needs to invlove exposure or lab evidence of exposure;
2. Genetic predisposition to illnesses related to biotoxins based on the identification of an HLA susceptible haplotype;
3. Any abnormalities that have been documented by the VCS testing;
4. Biomakers that consist of neuroimmune, vascular, and endocrine abnormalities which characterize this disease. If there is a history of biotoxin exposure, a susceptible genotype, and an abnormal CVS test you will probably show lab abnormalities that are seen in CIRS.
What to Do Next
The following steps are recommended to those who suspect to have a mold problem.
Step 1: You can start learning about illnesses connected to mold. Try Dr. Shoemaker’s book.
Step 2: Make a test of mold at your home. ERMI is one of the best tests. You can hire a professional to do a visual inspection, or perform ERMI on your own for around $325. It is only helpful if it is positive. Better skip the testing, and hire a professional.
Step 3: You can work with trained person at a clinic to do a test performed by Labcorp,