Can mold exposure lead to health problems?
Most of us usually don’t think about mold exposure and its effects on our and our family’s health. Mold is usually unseen, but its effects on a person’s health can be devastating if left unchecked.
A common problem caused by exposure to mold is mold illness, which should not be confused with mold allergies. Mold illness is more dangerous, and its detrimental effects can range from weight gain to over fatigue and breathing problems.
Mold illness is a subcategory of a biotoxin illness called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, or CIRS, which is acquired after exposure to the interiors of a water-damaged building which has toxigenic organisms. The symptoms of mold illness are usually a result of an irritant reaction to substances released by certain types of mold, called endotoxins.
What are endotoxins?
Basically, endotoxins are harmful substances which weaken your immune system and it is usually very difficult for your body to deal with them. If you’re interested in the science, read on, otherwise skip on to the next section.
“Endotoxin” is a term coined by Nats Umangay in order to distinguish toxins which are released into the environment only after the bacterial cell wall is destroyed from “exotoxins”, which are toxins immediately released by bacteria into the environment. The term endotoxin is most commonly associated with lipopolysaccharides, or LPS, which are found in the outer membrane of different kinds of gram-negative bacteria. LPS is an important component of the bacteria’s ability to cause disease, as was discovered in an experiment where human volunteers were injected with small amounts of endotoxins. The human subjects experienced a drastic drop in their blood pressure, inflammation, blood coagulation, and fever. LPS and other endotoxins in gram-negative bacteria have also been scientifically associated with diseases like meningococcemia, meningitis, and Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome.
Endotoxins attack specific receptors in human cells, weakening a person’s immune system. Human antibodies are generally unable to prevent endotoxins from wreaking havoc on a person’s body, which is why the best way to deal with endotoxins is to minimize your exposure to endotoxins and the molds that release them, specifically, black mold.
What is black mold?
Black mold, which is commonly found in water-damaged buildings, is a leading source of endotoxins. Water-damaged buildings also host fungi and other types of bacteria which can further weaken your immune system. The chances of such microbes getting into your system increase drastically if the building is improperly ventilated.
What are the symptoms of mold illness?
Mold illness affects different parts of the body, which is why there is a variety of symptoms. Mold illness can affect your muscles and joints, causing aches, muscle cramps, joint pain, weakness, or overfatigue. You may also develop a cough, experience shortness of breath, or have difficulty breathing.
You may also have symptoms related to your brain. Headaches and memory problems are common symptoms, as are difficulty with concentration and word recollection. Decreased learning, confusion, and disorientation are also very common among those who suffer from mold illness. Erratic mood swings have also been observed in some patients.
Mold illness has also been reported to cause light sensitivity, blurred vision, and red eyes. Other symptoms are skin sensitivity, diarrhea, increased urination, and sweats.
What are the effects of mold illness?
Mold illness manifests itself gradually in a person. If you have mold illness, you may find that your health has been steadily worsening. This is because your exposure to black mold has put your immune system on a constant fight against endotoxins. The constant battle between your immune system’s antigens and the endotoxins from the environment will cause inflammation, which will gradually lead to a chronic illness and to the occurrence of any of the aforementioned symptoms.
What can I do to avoid mold illness?
As the old cliché goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Now that you know that one of the common causes of mold illness is exposure to endotoxins released by molds, specifically, by black molds, the most practically way to prevent mold illness is to cut off mold exposure.
Feel free to contact us for help and information. We offer a wide variety of services, such as a preliminary mold inspection, mold testing, and an indoor air quality test. The results of the indoor air quality test will help us determine if there is black mold in your home or office. We can also determine if you will require black mold removal or mold remediation.
Mold illness caused by mold exposure can be easily prevented, and now that you are equipped with this information, you should take concrete steps to protect not only your health, but the health of your family and friends, as well.