In my previous blog, you learned that mold is, well, everywhere. And while some molds don’t pose a threat to your health, it is important to understand the ones in homes and offices that do.

In this post, you’ll learn about the 3 categories of mold that you most likely encounter and how they may be impacting your health (with things like insomnia, depression, and anxiety). You’ll also receive resources and tips that will empower you to take back your health from the mold that may have a hold on you.

3 Categories of Mold

Molds fall into 3 categories – allergenic, pathogenic, or toxic. None of these terms sound super friendly, so let’s break them down a bit further.

Generally speaking, allergenic molds are just that – they trigger an allergic response. This can show up as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and a runny nose. These molds are also a significant issue for people with asthma and other respiratory illness.

Pathogenic molds cause infections and disease. While many of us can handle these types of molds with our immune system, if you or someone in your life has a compromised immune system, they may pose a bigger issue. This typically applies to infants, elderly, people with immune-related disorders, or people who are already sick and battling a disease like cancer.

The third and most serious category is toxic molds. Toxic molds produce something called mycotoxins, which are dangerous to humans. Mycotoxins are carcinogenic. (Yikes!)

Mold and Your Health

We’re exposed to molds and mycotoxins through eating, touching, and breathing – all things we cannot escape doing.

You might be thinking, “I would never eat mold!” (aside from a delicious piece of Gorgonzola Dulce). However, due to agricultural and processing conditions, many common foods may deliver molds and mycotoxins right to your table, including: beer (brewer’s yeast), wheat, sugar cane/sugar beets, corn, peanuts, barley, sorghum, rye, cottonseed oil, certain hard cheeses, and soy. (To learn more about this and the effects mold can have through one family’s healing journey after Hurricane Katrina, check out THIS book).

As for touching and breathing, a common source of mycotoxins is household dust (another reason to bust that dust in your home every week).

The health effects from mold can be immediate or short-term (acute) or long-lasting (chronic). Chronic issues typically occur due to prolonged exposures to molds and their mycotoxins over time.

Mold is tricky, too. Once exposed, certain molds can colonize in the body and mycotoxins can infiltrate the body’s systems. Mold can affect all body systems, including respiratory, blood, immune, central nervous, renal, reproductive, and endocrine.

What follows may be a bit uncomfortable to read, but remember, knowledge is power. Here is a laundry list of health issues (hyperlinked to the source study) that can be caused by mold and mycotoxin exposure.

The list…

Insomnia, Anxiety, Depression, Fatigue/Weakness, Neurocognitive Dysfunction, Irritability, Memory Loss, Neuropsychiatric Problems, Tremors, Emotional and Behavioral Changes, Hormonal Issues, Infertility, Changes in Reproductive Cycles, Weight Gain/Loss, Hair Loss, Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Inflammation, Muscle and Joint Pain, Skin Conditions (Sensitivity, Dryness, Rash), Numbness/Tingling, Vision Problems, Leaky Gut, Nausea, Diarrhea, Abdominal Cramping, Irritable Bowel (IBS), Vasculitis, Angioedema, Heart Palpitations, Headaches, Dizziness, Sinusitis, Laryngitis, Rhinitis, Shortness of Breath, Chest Tightness, Asthma, Wheezing, Coughing, Respiratory Illness, Compromised Lung Function, Infant Pulmonary Hemorrhage, Chemical Sensitivity, Compromised Immune Function, and Cancer.

This isn’t meant to scare or overwhelm you. It’s to empower you. The last thing people typically link health problems to is mold exposure. So, if you are struggling with any of these symptoms, mold may be an angle worth exploring with a physician specifically trained to treat molds. 

Healing From Mold Exposure

As with most illnesses, there are many paths to healing.

In last week’s blog, you learned about how to identify and prevent mold in your home. This is always the first step.

If you have (or had in the past) a moldy situation, and you are experiencing any of the health conditions mentioned above, you will want to understand whether or not you have mold in your body, what type of mold it is, and if it is linked to the symptoms you are experiencing.

A physician who specializes in environmental illness and mold can help. Unfortunately, most primary care doctors are not knowledgeable with the ins-and-outs of mold exposure. The following links will support you in researching and selecting a mold-savvy specialist in your area.

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness

The Institute for Functional Medicine

Your journey of detoxification and treatment will be individual to you and your situation. A properly trained medical specialist can help unravel the complexities of illness due to mold exposure.

Eliminating your exposure to mold in your environment is critical to healing. In next week’s post, I’ll share with you a plethora of resources about how to properly deal with mold that is present in your home. It bears repeating, if you uncover active mold in your home, do not touch or disturb it. It’s best to seal the area until you can call in a professional.

If, by chance, you do have active mold, make sure your hire an IICRC Certified Firm or Technician who has been trained on the proper standards and protocols for mold remediation.

We’ll dive into this and more next week.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know are experiencing health issues like insomnia, anxiety, and depression, mold and other environmental factors in your home could be the culprits. Let me help. Schedule time on my calendar HERE.

Until next time…

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