Mold-related illnesses are very prevalent in patients with compromised or weakened immune systems. Mold-related health conditions can manifest themselves with neuropsychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, depression, brain fog, and attentional problems. Long-term exposure to mold toxins can be detrimental when they accumulate in the body as they may require a prolonged course of treatment. The signs and symptoms of mold-related illnesses can partly mimic classic neurologic disorders such as balance and coordination problems, difficulties in movement, and pain syndromes.
Sensitive individuals can be affected by mold toxins, which aggravate underlying pathologic or neurologic processes in the body. This article will be discussing the relationship between mold toxicity and its effect on neurological processes to promote a better understanding of how it can affect the human nervous system.
Mold Toxicity and Neurologic Symptoms
Mold toxicity and mold allergies do not refer to the same illness. Mold allergies usually occur when you accidentally inhale or ingest mold spores. This can cause cold or flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, itchy skin, and watery eyes. On the other hand, mold toxicity is a chronic inflammatory response caused by volatile toxins produced by mold. Prolonged exposure to mold can make it difficult for your body to get rid of toxic vapors produced by mold.
It is frequently misdiagnosed because it can manifest itself in many different symptoms. Toxic mold can cause a chronic inflammatory response such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, fatigue, and histamine intolerance, which do not often respond well to treatment. Unfortunately, mold toxicity is not always included as part of the differential diagnosis as it is not on the radar for many medical practitioners. Some of the neurologic symptoms of toxic mold include weakness, light sensitivity, sinus problems, blurred vision, concentration and memory issues, tremors and a general feeling of numbness.
Neuropsychiatric Effects of Mold Exposure
- Findings in Children
Long-term exposure to mold that produces potent toxins is associated with hemosiderosis and acute pulmonary hemorrhage among infants. The correlation between the occurrence of respiratory issues and exposure to excessive mold in a school or home environment has shown symptoms such as prolonged cough, repeated wheezing, and sinus infections. Recent epidemiologic studies have also reported a significant correlation between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and exposure to mycotoxins produced by mold. The results from a 6-year follow up study in Poland revealed that mold exposure in a child’s bedroom during their early years caused a significant decrease in their general cognitive score.
- Findings in Adults
Individuals who have been exposed to mold may experience a wide range of symptoms including cognitive impairment, fatigue, and malaise that may vary depending on the duration of exposure. According to a recent study performed on adult males and females, patients with prolonged exposure displayed symptoms of neurologic dysfunction such as short-term memory loss, verbal recall impairments, and inability to stand firm on one’s toes.
It is also unclear whether the adverse effects of mold toxicity or the financial and emotional stress of keeping a house clean when you have recurrent mold cause neurological problems. It is hypothesized that individuals experiencing high demands from a home infested with mold may have an elevated risk of depression and anxiety if they have a low sense of control. The depressive tendencies are majorly attributed to the fact that a moldy home is associated with significant health outcomes such as gastrointestinal tract and respiratory issues.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Mold allergies or toxicity may be diagnosed based on the symptoms and medical history of an injury. Some of the tests that can be performed by your doctor include a skin prick test or blood tests. A skin prick test is used to determine how your body reacts to common allergens. A blood test measures your immune system’s response to mold toxicity. A doctor may take blood samples of a patient with a compromised immune system to diagnose a systemic fungal infection. Treatment options for mold-related illnesses include the use of antihistamines, decongestant nasal sprays, oral decongestants, and a nasal rinse to flush out the mold spores. A doctor may also recommend immunotherapy for a long-term solution but can only be suitable for certain types of mold allergy.
Exposure to mold is a serious health problem that can be detrimental for patients with a weakened immune system. Structural components of bacteria and prolonged exposure to mold toxins can trigger neurologic symptoms that may affect your nervous system. Although there have been contradictory pieces of evidence on the effects of mold and how it can cause neurological problems, it is necessary to seek medical help if you experience symptoms related to mold toxicity. Professional mold remediation is very important as it reduces the effects of mold exposure and gives you peace of mind.