While mold is difficult to spot, it might be growing in your house and making you sick. Mold poisoning has a tremendous impact on your health, which is the reason why this article covers mold illness and groups of people who are more susceptible to it.
Conventional medicine doesn’t take mold seriously, so a conventional doctor is not able to address this problem properly. In addition, mold toxicity shows nonspecific symptoms, which often leads to misdiagnosis.
Toxic Mold Symptoms
- Light sensitivity, red eyes, and/or blurred vision
- Sinus problems, cough, shortness of breath, air hunger, asthma-like symptoms
- Weight gain despite sufficient effort (weight loss resistance)
- Night sweats or other problems with temperature regulation
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Static “shocks”
- Memory problems, brain fog, trouble with focus and executive function
- Fatigue, weakness, post-exercise malaise and fatigue
- Muscle cramping, aches and pains, joint pain without inflammatory arthritis, persistent nerve pain, “ice pick” pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Persistent nerve pain
- Abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, appetite changes
- Metallic taste
The Low-down on Mold
Mold is defined as a group of fungi that thrive in filaments and multiply by forming spores that sprout and fly away. These sprouts are so tiny that the naked eye cannot detect them. Mold thrives in damp and humid locations, both inside and outside. Even if you live in locations like Nevada, Arizona or other dry areas, mold can be a problem if there are floods, poorly ventilated bathrooms, or water leaks.
Mold can grow in the showerhead, the corner near the shower, and the bathroom, particularly if it is poorly ventilated. Mold is also likely to attach to pets, clothes, carpets, furniture, shoes, papers, and books. It is capable of circulating in the air system, especially if you rarely replace the filters.
Generally, water-damaged buildings create a combination of contaminants present in the air and dust, which results in a toxic stew. Mold produces toxic chemicals known as mycotoxins, which are present on spores released in the air. Interestingly enough, half of the buildings in America are water-damaged, which leads to growth of mold and an increased risk for mold illness. Since most people spend most of their time indoors, chances are they have been exposed to water damage and mold.
Mold toxicity is classified as biotoxin illness, which is also known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). As explained by Shoemaker, MD, the author of eight books, including Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings, 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. . . . “
“24 percent of people cannot make adequate antibody responses, and they’re the ones that comprise over 95 percent of people who have an illness from water-damaged buildings,” he adds. This comment leads us to the next topic: the role of DNA in making one more or less susceptible to mold illness.
Why Some People Are Susceptible
As Dr. Shoemaker noted, about 24% of the population is genetically susceptible to mold toxicity; they have an immune response gene (HLA-DR). These people are more prone to having an adverse reaction to mold when exposed to it. As a matter of fact, 95% of mold illness affects individuals in this group. In addition, there is 2% who are susceptible with a “sicker quicker” variation of the genes.
Unfortunately most people who are genetically susceptible to mold fail to recognize certain toxins as toxins, and they get re-circulated in their system. Consequently, these toxins ( like mold), trigger an inflammatory response!
Mold illness that stems from water-damaged buildings is a very serious health issue. It is not an allergy, rather a state of chronic inflammation caused by uncontrolled immune system. The CIRS doesn’t go away on its own, but continues to trigger symptoms unless it is properly addressed.
To diagnose CIRS, experts agree that you should meet the criteria below:
- History, signs, and symptoms associated with biotoxin exposure. In case of mold toxicity, history should include exposure to molds as documented by the EPA`s approved tests. Otherwise, it should include exposure or lab evidence of exposure.
- A genetic predisposition to biotoxin-related disease based on HLA`s susceptible haplotype.
- Biomarkers consisted with the endocrine, vascular, and neuroimmune abnormalities associated with CIRS.
- Abnormalities documented by Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) testing.
What to Do Next
Anyone who suspects they may have a mold-related problem should do the following:
- Start learning about mold illness. Refer to Dr. Shoemaker`s book, Survival Mold or his website.
- Test your home for mold by doing an ERMI test which can be done by any environmental professional.
- Work with an expert trained in the Shoemaker Protocol.