Illnesses Caused by Mold

Mold spores produce inflammation once inhaled. Mold spores induce persistent changes in inflammatory and immune responses.
Illnesses Caused by Mold

Mold Causes Different Illnesses because of Poor Construction

Do you have illnesses caused by mold?  Are you suspecting that mold is the underlying factor in all your health problems?  We are going to discuss mold and your health in this article briefly. When do the damaging effects of mold start?  Before we answer that, let’s talk about how mold gets activated. Mold spores are dormant, but once they get wet, they begin to sporulate and release spores.  

One of the causes that lead to this is water intrusion.  Roof leaks can cause water intrusion in our homes, HVAC condensation, water intrusion from floods and hurricanes, leaking appliances and plumbing, poorly designed foundations, poor window framing or roofing or improperly sealed fireplaces.  The problem begins mainly because of construction. In this country, everyone can go to the government and get a permit to build a house. What is the result of all this? A lot of the constructions result in leaks. In addition, affordable housing is often in an area likely to flood and most often than not, landlords fail to maintain buildings and make necessary repairs.  Government agencies agree that mold starts to grow from 24-48 hours of water intrusion. Therefore, any untreated water intrusion can spiral into a whole lot of medical problems.

For example, in 1994 in Cleveland, a major rain caused flooding in east Cleveland in an area with dilapidated buildings.  Three months later doctors noted parents were coming into ERs with limp, blue children, bleeding from their lungs. Thirty-seven kids were affected, and twelve of them died.  Sixty percent of these children, who went back to their homes, had more severe bleeding in their lungs. It was later found by Dr. Dearborn of Rainbow Babies and Children’s hospital found Stachybotrys in homes.

Children are more sensitive to the adverse effects of mycotoxins than adults because of lower body mass, higher metabolic rate, immature immune system, underdeveloped organ functions, and underdeveloped detoxification mechanisms.  

How Does Your Body Get Affected by Illnesses Caused by Mold

We all need to breathe.  Therefore, it is correct to say that indoor air quality is essential for human health.  The average person 73-kg adult inhales about 700 cubic feet of air per day. Therefore the air we inhale must be healthy.  But if you look at it, 20% of the population has asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis.  

 Chronic exposures to molds cause chronic inflammation.  A recent study of 7,750 post-menopausal women, about 3,612 of them developed breast cancer from ambient air pollution.

 

Certain species of molds are more abundant indoors vs. outdoors like aspergillus, penicillium, chaetomium, epicoccum, Fusarium, Stachybotrys chartarum.  Cladosporium is equally abundant outdoors and indoors.

Illnesses Caused by Mold are More Prevalent Now

The EPA cautions that approximately 50% of the fungal growth can be hidden from view.  That is why a lot of us have been exposed to mold long before our health problems have been starting.  But if mold has been around for ages, why are we getting more health problems now than before? What changed?  

This is happening now and not before because before homes were made with plaster walls.  Plaster is alkaline, and nothing grows on it. However, using plaster walls was labor extensive.  So, eventually, they had to find a cheaper substitute. Also, you have to consider that before they had windows open and fans helped circulate the air.  Whatever was brought in by the wind was also carried by the wind back out. Lastly, you have to remember that in the earlier days they did not have airconditioning and so they had no HVAC condensation problems.

Nowadays, buildings have to be built tightly.  They are constructed in a way where they promote the no air in, no air out principle.    This is all done to help energy efficiency. Heating and ventilation systems don’t have to work as hard with this type of buildings, and so there is less fuel needed for electricity.  For example, the walls are stuffed with thick and fluffy insulation, and windows are tightly shut. The cold air inside won’t be able to leave the building quickly, and so airconditioning does not have to work as hard.  The same goes for the heating systems.  

With regards to the materials for the buildings, today we use gypsum wallboard or drywall.  It is comprised of compressed gypsum between two layers of durable paper. Gypsum readily absorbs water and dries slowly, so it is a perfect medium for mold growth, especially Stachybotrys, the famous black toxic mold.

Illnesses Caused by Mold on Our Central and Autonomic Nervous System and How they Start

As we’ve discussed, as the spores multiply, they release mycotoxins.  Mycotoxins were discovered because a Scottish doctor by the name of William Flemming was working in his laboratory.  He left two petri dishes and forgot to cover them. He took a vacation, and when he came back, the staphylococcus bacteria in one dish was dead while the other petri dish which contained penicillium mold grew nicely.  So, he thought that something from the penicillium killed the bacteria from the other petri dish.

These mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of molds and are very potent protein synthesis inhibitors. It is what fuels the brain, helps your muscles move and your digestive system to work.  Protein is needed by the body to work, and if you don’t have protein, you’re going to get sick.  

Mycotoxins are toxic to the brain, and they affect the Central Nervous System and cause Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, tremors, Parkinson’s disease.  One mold, cryptococcus neoformans, is the world’s most common cause of fungal meningitis. It first infects the lungs from inhalation of spores in the environment; then the infections spread to the brain via the bloodstream.  It results in 1.6 million deaths annually worldwide.

A mold that produces mycotoxins usually produces a series of mycotoxins rather than just one mycotoxin.  If a mold known to produce mycotoxins is present in a home or building, then the mycotoxins it produces are present as well.  You can develop mycotic infections, fungal rhinosinusitis, Immunoglobulin E-mediated sensitivity and asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and related inflammatory diseases, cytotoxicity.

The width of a hair is around one hundred microns.  Spores are around 1-20 microns. So, you can’t see them through the naked eye.  You have to use a microscope. Mycotoxins are about 0.1 microns. Exposure to mycotoxins is by ingestion, inhalation, and skin absorption.  Our skin is the largest organ of the body, and we have thousands of pores.  

So, the translocation of mycotoxins occur by two mechanisms:  via the nervous system and the surfactants of the alveoli. The mycotoxins enter and attach to the surfactants of the lungs and are transported across the alveolar cell membranes and enter the systemic circulation.

On the other hand, it gets into the brain because the other mode of transportation is via the olfactory neurons.  Mycotoxins attach to the nasal mucosa and are transported up the olfactory nerve through the cribriform plate and enter the hypothalamus/pituitary axis.

The neurological effects of mycotoxins include memory problems, autistic spectrum disorder, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (a disease that mimics MS), loss of balance, facial pain, glossopharyngeal neuralgia (pain when you swallow), head and neck myalgia (pain in unusual severity), movement disorders, and decreased visual acuity (consistently progressive in nature).

According to the Journal of American Medical Association (1969) by DRS McPhedran et al., “Probably the most hazardous mycotoxins likely to be involved are the aflatoxins produced by Aspergillus flavus and parasitivus; these carcinogenic toxins have been implicated in cancer.”

Get Help Before You Get Affected with Illnesses Caused By Mold

These are only some of the main illnesses caused by mold, and you can see that it is not something you can joke about.  That is why we highly suggest that you contact a mold remediation company to help assess any mold problems in your house so they can tell you how to get rid of mold in your house and how you can treat the infestation before it can cause tremendous problems with your health.  If you think that you already have occurring health problems, go and see a doctor that specializes in mold exposure. You can also get a blood test for mold exposure so you can find out if your health issues are caused by mold exposure.

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