Increased Anxiety And Depression
A large study involving over 5,000 adults found significantly higher rates of depression in those living in water-damaged buildings with mold compared to controls living in mold-free environments .
Some mycotoxins are neurotoxins, which means theyre especially harmful to the brain and nervous system. Theyre capable of causing lesions in the area of the brain known as the frontal cortex. This causes dysfunction with dopamine, leading to anxiety or depression .
Mold exposure can also cause an immune reaction, activating microglia that release cytokines in the central nervous system. This causes changes in behavior including malaise, pain, fatigue, and social withdrawal.
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What Were The Basic Results
Exposing wild Drosophila flies to low dose 1-octen-3-ol caused movement problems within the first 24 hours and 50% to die by 16.9 days. The control group all survived for at least 27 days, by which time the entire 1-octen-3-ol group had died.
In the second part of the study, exposure to 1-octen-3-ol reduced the number of all types of dopamine nerves except for one. This caused a reduction in dopamine levels of 28% compared to flies that were not exposed. It also increased the level of the waste product of dopamine, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid by 40%.
In the human embryonic kidney cells, very low levels of 1-octen-3-ol did not have an effect, whereas low and higher levels caused a difficulty in transporting dopamine into the cells.
They found that overexpression of a different genetic neurotransporter cell in flies brains was protective against the effects of 1-octen-3-ol.
You Are Not Crazy Mold Can Affect Your Brain
Let me start by saying that if you are struggling with depression and feelings of hopelessness as symptoms of your mold illness, you are not alone. You are not crazy. Depression, anger, fear, feeling trapped, desperate, and helpless are all very real and very well-documented symptoms of mold-related illness.
One of the first and most difficult symptoms of being exposed to mold for me was the sudden onset of anxiety and depression. My anxiety levels soared and my ability to deal with lifes ups and downs plummeted. I went from being a smooth-sailing, up-for-anything, laid-back woman, to an unstable, nervous, neurotic, worried wreck. I would literally worry myself into physical exhaustion, almost feeling haunted by my fears that something was going on in my body that I just didnt understand and no one could figure out or help me with. It was humiliating to not be able to physically prevail in athletics anymore or depend on my body and depressing to always be or feel sick. I also felt out-of-control and like I was failing as a Mom, because my son was struggling with sensory processing issues and frequent ear infections, and caring for my daughter, a sweet baby girl at the time, left me totally depleted and completely exhausted. I was not in a good place physically or psychologically. And, as many of us do when things seem to be all in our heads, we blame ourselves, which makes the problem worse.
Now for my recommendations:
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When Should You Suspect That Mold Exposure Is Causing Symptoms For You
If your home or office has had water damage or water intrusion and nothing was done to remediate it within 24-48 hours, its likely mold has grown. Mold can grow with very little moisture, so make sure small leaks are repaired and damp areas like bathrooms, showers, and windowsills are well ventilated and cleaned regularly.
You may have experienced a time you stayed in a hotel, a friends house, or perhaps your basement and smelled a musty odor. That odor is often caused by microbial volatile organic compounds which are not thought to affect our health in a negative way. This musty odor, however, is a red flag that mold growth is present.
There are many companies that will come to your home and test for the presence of mold spores. One of the most popular mold testing methods is to collect air samples indoors and outdoors and compare them. The indoor mold count should be less than outdoors. Unfortunately, air testing for mold is limited in its effectiveness and can lead to false negative results since it only provides a brief snapshot in time of which mold spores are present.
One of the better, more effective, tests for mold is the Environmental Relative Mold Index which is available at Mycometrics or EMLab P& K. It analyzes a sample of dust from the home using a DNA-based method for identifying specific mold species. This test also has its limitations, but overall is a good test to start with.
Black Mold Exposure Symptoms
There are more than 100,000 potential species of mold that can contaminate your environment, many can be classified as toxic black mold. Mold exposure symptoms range from minor to severe. Most often, black mold will start to affect your respiratory organs. You will experience shortness of breath or a stuffy nose. You may think you are experiencing allergies or sinus. You may also start coughing, wheezing, and get irritated eyes. If you have asthma or allergies or a weak immune system it may affect you worse. You could experience headaches, fever, chest colds, and sinusitis. In some extreme cases, people have lost their hair, had stomach pain, and had muscle spasms. Even memory loss and anxiety attacks can be caused by long exposure to black mold.
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Chemicals From Plastics And Other Products
Some people are concerned about bisphenol A . This is a chemical found in some types of plastic bottles. BPA also is used to line the inside of some types of food cans and other containers. A study has shown that people who have high levels of BPA in their urine have a greater risk for heart disease. And a group of experts concluded that bisphenol A may have some effect on the behavior, brain, and prostate gland of a developing baby or young child., If you are concerned about BPA, dont use bottles marked with the number 7 or the letters PC near the recycle symbol. You can use glass or BPA-free plastic bottles instead.
In the past, a group of substances called polychlorinated biphenyls were used in electrical equipment, plastics, and dyes. Although they are no longer made in the U.S., they remain in the environment. Exposure to PCBs has been linked to health problems, especially mental functions such as memory and attention in children. Exposure to PCBs also has been linked to sperm problems in men. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides information about PCBs at www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/pcbs/index.htm.
Chemicals called phthalates may cause problems with the reproductive organs of infants and young children, especially boys. Phthalates can be found in some plastic items and in products such as powders, lotions, and shampoos.,
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How Can You Tell If You Have Black Mold Poisoning
The most common black mold symptoms and health effects are associated with a respiratory response. Chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation to the eyes, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, rashes, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches can all be symptomatic of black mold exposure or black mold poisoning.
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Very Very High Rates Of Mold Exposure In The Me/cfs Community
It turned out that the healthy controls were selected in part because theyd reported no prior exposures to water damaged buildings. That enabled the researchers to highlight the effect that type of exposure may have but made it impossible to be able to state that ME/CFS patients are more likely to be exposed to water-damaged/moldy buildings than healthy controls.
Several factors suggest the 93% rate of positive mycotoxin tests in ME/CFS may not be reflective of the general population.
- The authors defined water-damaged buildings broadly enough that many people must have been exposed to one. . They did note, though, that many of the ME/CFS patients had lived or worked in a building with visible mold an indication of a mold problem that went beyond a plugged up drain or a window leak).
- This study also emanated from a infectious disease specialist apparently with a focus in mold issues which means he may be gathering a distinct subset of mold exposed patients and this makes sense given the report that many of the study participants had lived/worked in buildings with visible mold.
- The most common type of water-based damage to residential dwellings occurs in basements and most of the participants came from the Midwest where basements/cellars are probably more common than in the western and southern states. People from these locations may be more likely to be exposed to high levels of mold.
To sum up.
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Coughing And Shortness Of Breath
The irritation and inflammation caused by mold often lead to frequent coughing that is otherwise unexplained.
The throat and lungs are irritated continuously when repeatedly exposed to mycotoxins. If the issue isnt addressed, this coughing can develop into more severe conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
The same inflammation that causes irritated, constricted airways that lead to wheezing and coughing can eventually lead to shortness of breath.
This gives a feeling of tightness in the chest. It may feel like you are unable to take in a full breath.
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How Can I Prevent A Relapse
Mold spores can be found just about anywhere, whether inside or outside. However, you can take preventative measures to ensure they dont breed into larger, toxic colonies. If there are water leaks in or around the house, have them repaired immediately. Dark, wet environments and plenty of organic material create the perfect home for mold growth. Keep your attic and basement or crawl space dry and free of moisture. Consider bringing in an environmental professional and having an ERMI mold test done every so often to evaluate your home for the presence of mold. There are DIY kits that can be purchased, but these results arent always accurate.
If you suspect that you have been exposed to mold, either because you have found mold in your home or you have had nagging symptoms similar to the ones discussed, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. As you make a plan to remove mold from your home and prevent future relapses, team to have the mold problem removed.
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How Long Does It Take For Black Mold To Kill You
Black mold, or Stachybotrys atra, has a reputation for being fatal. This is due to reports that black mold was related to infant deaths in the 1990s. Its also been linked to the idea of sick building syndrome and is often called toxic black mold.
But theres no solid evidence proving that black mold is toxic. Black mold, and mold in general, is not deadly.
Still, black mold can cause unwanted side effects, especially those in people who are sensitive to mold. This includes people who are young, old, or have compromised immune systems.
Visit a doctor if you have:
- persistent sinus and nasal congestion
- frequent headaches
- unexplained skin irritation
- more frequent asthma attacks
Sometimes, it can be difficult to know if mold is causing your symptoms. Many side effects of mold exposure are similar to other conditions, like seasonal allergies. Some symptoms also take time to appear.
Your best bet is to see a doctor, even if youre unsure your symptoms are related to mold. They can help you find relief.
The best way to treat mold exposure symptoms is to reduce exposure. Follow these tips:
- Avoid contact with moldy items or surfaces.
- Avoid damp rooms, like basements.
- Remove mold from the home by cleaning surfaces and drying damp areas.
- Increase ventilation by using a fan or opening windows.
- Reduce indoor humidity with a dehumidifier.
The length of time it takes for mold to leave your body will depend on your level of previous exposure.
- a musty, earthy odor
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Getting A Diagnosis For Mold Sickness
While symptoms to mold exposure are not uncommon , many health care professionals struggle to pinpoint the cause behind these symptoms.
Often only a few people or one person and not everyone, in a home or workplace experience symptoms. This is frustrating and confusing for the sick person. When their doctors cant find any reason for the illness, they can start to feel like the sickness is all in their mind.
People suffering from mold exposure can often be misdiagnosed with disorders such as:
How Long Do Mold Symptoms Last
The tricky thing about mold exposure is that its different for each person. The amount of time mold exposure symptoms persist depends on:
- What type of mold they are exposed to,
- How long the exposure has been,
- How well their bodies eliminate toxins
Those who process toxins well can see their symptoms disappear as quickly as a few days.
Others who eliminate toxins slowly can experience symptoms for much longer. They could be ill for months or even years after the source of mold is eliminated.
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Mycotoxins And The Brain: Mechanisms Of Action
There are several mechanisms by which mold and mycotoxins harm the brain and induce cognitive dysfunction.
- Mycotoxins induce oxidative stress, instigating the release of reactive oxygen species from cells that cause damage to nervous system tissue.
- Trichothecenes induce mitochondrial dysfunction, a phenomenon that has been found to underlie cognitive impairment.
- Mycotoxins interact with the neuroimmune axis, a network of cells and signaling molecules that links the immune system with the central nervous system. Mycotoxins activate mast cells along this axis, triggering the release of inflammatory cytokines that cause neuroinflammation and cognitive dysfunction.
- Mycotoxins impair neuronal plasticity by binding to proteins involved in synapse activity. Reduced neuronal plasticity is a contributing factor in cognitive dysfunction, depression, and anxiety, among other mental health issues.
- Mycotoxins compromise the integrity of the bloodbrain barrier, crossing into the brain and exerting neurotoxic effects on neurons.
Mold Symptoms And Ear Infection
Here is an example of how the first problem occurs. When mold enters the body, typically by inhalation, it is attacked by white blood cells via a specific cytokine called interleukin. The interleukin kills the mold but the white blood cells engaged in the immune response often burst and release caustic, major basic proteins . This acid-like protein burns pits into the sinus lining. The pits become a trap for bacteria which causes infection, pain, and swelling in the sinuses. The pitting keeps the conditions ripe for the immediate return of the infection. Antibiotics that prevent fluid build-up do not treat the condition that causes the pitting they merely provide a temporary relief. The pits will not begin to heal until your body stops having to fight against mold.
Another way cytokines are a problem is that they circulate throughout the body causing a systemic immune reaction creating symptoms such as: muscle and joint pain, fibromyalgia, fatigue, bloating, gas, diarrhea, memory and concentration problems, vessel inflammation, dizziness, headaches, ear infections, and many others problems.
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Test After Test With No Answers
That was the first episode, lasting for three months starting in November of 2010. In that time she lost twenty-five pounds, was forced to abandon her practice, and withdrew from activities outside the home. Her doctor, family, and friends told her that they thought she had depression or even bipolar disorder. She resisted, even in her confused and debilitated state, and insisted on further testing, believing that something was terribly wrong.
After a series of blood tests, her general practitioner diagnosed Kimberlyn with heavy metal poisoning and recommended she undergo chelation therapy. After undergoing this treatment, she did feel better. However, within five months the illness returned.
During her second cycle of illness, Kimberlyn sought out another doctor who performed a series of tests and suggested that maybe Kimberlyn was suffering from mold illness, also known as toxic mold syndrome. This was the first time mold had been suggested as a possible cause for Kimberlyns symptoms and was unexpected due to the arid climate of Arizona. Yet after having her home tested, three different types of toxic mold were found, including Stachybotrys, also known as black mold.