Mold is a fungus that can be found almost everywhere – outside your home, inside your home, and in the air. Mold travels around in spores, and in those spores are chemicals known as mycotoxins. When these are released into the air, they can make their way into the body via inhalation, through the skin, or on contaminated food.
Environmental mold doesn’t typically cause health problems, and those with regular immune function rarely have to worry about being exposed to mold or mold toxicity. But what are the symptoms of mold toxicity? And how do you know if you have it? Read on to find out.
How do you know if mold is making you sick?
When you inhale mold toxins, they get mixed up with other toxins in the body. Most of the time, toxins are flushed out through normal elimination processes; however, they can build up over time and lead to health problems. Some people may accumulate more toxin build-up than their body can handle, or their detoxification process isn’t functioning as it should.
The total amount of toxins in your body is referred to as Total Body Burden, and when that burden level becomes high enough, you may start to experience the symptoms of mold illness. The reasons some people may experience mold toxicity has a lot to do with genetics and environment, so it can be hard to tell if you’re at risk. For people who are more susceptible to mold illness, however, symptoms such as the following may start to appear:
- Shortness of breath
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Redness of the eyes
- Frequent or chronic sinusitis
These symptoms are regarded as milder ones and can resemble allergies. This could lead to people being unaware that mold is causing the problem at all. If you experience the above symptoms without known allergies, it’s possible that you have been overexposed to mold and are experiencing a mold-related illness.
What health problems are caused by mold?
There are a variety of different health problems that can arise following mold exposure. They typically only occur in people with weaker immune systems or those who are more susceptible genetically. Aside from the milder symptoms mentioned above, other health problems that can arise from mold exposure include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle aches, pains, or cramping
- Nerve pain that doesn’t go away
- Vertigo and dizziness
- Frequent infections such as colds or flus
- General fatigue
- Tremors, tingling, or numbness in the extremities
- Cognitive deficits in memory and focus
- Brain fog
Mold illness can also cause serious respiratory health problems because of its ability to take root inside the body. When the miniscule mold spores get inside the lungs or sinuses, they can latch on, root, and grow. This can severely affect the health of the lungs and sinuses.
What are the symptoms of long-term mold exposure?
It can be hard to determine how long you have been exposed to mold, especially if you didn’t attribute milder initial symptoms to mold exposure and the toxicity has since worsened. The severity of mold toxicity will always vary from person to person, which can make the long-term effects hard to determine.
Other factors that affect the symptoms of long-term mold exposure include:
- The type of mold you were exposed to
- How long you have been exposed
- Your body’s ability to eliminate mold toxins
Some of the symptoms associated with long-term mold exposure can mimic other health conditions, such as:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Bipolar disorder
- Lyme disease
People with mold toxicity are often misdiagnosed with one of the aforementioned diseases.
What is the treatment for long-term mold exposure?
Diagnosing mold exposure can be difficult, because it can often take a long time to determine that symptoms are in fact caused by mold. Once doctors have made a diagnosis, they can begin treatment. Mild mold-related illness are usually treated by:
- Nasal sprays or rinses that can help to clean out the sinuses
- Over-the-counter medications that treat allergy symptoms
- Oral medications that can reduce mucus in the airways
- Allergy shots
For more serious symptoms of mold toxicity, further interventions will need to be explored. These will be focused on helping the body rid itself of toxins as well as strengthening the immune system. Treatments may include:
- Intravenous nutrient therapy
- Supporting the body’s natural detoxification process through the use of supplements or medications
- Immunotherapy may also be suggested as a long-term solution
Mold toxicity doesn’t develop in everyone who is exposed to mold. But if you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above and are unsure if they may be caused by mold, speak to your doctor. They can help you determine if you have mold toxicity and put together an optimal treatment plan.