A mold is a fungus that develops in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores that fly in the air and are invisible to the naked eye. Mold spores are omnipresent in the biosphere and are part of the dust in our homes and working places. They grow in the bathrooms, in rooms that are not well-ventilated, in water-damaged buildings.
Molds can attach to shoes, clothes, furniture, carpets, books, papers, and even pets. Mold produces mycotoxins, toxic chemicals that can prevent protein synthesis, damage macrophage systems, hinder particle clearance in the lung, and increase sensitivity to bacterial endotoxin. Excessive exposure to molds can be very harmful to humans and may lead to some serious health problems. Most doctors will never diagnose mold illness because the conventional medicine firmly believes that exposure to mold does not represent a big risk for the health.
The Symptoms of Mold Illness:
· Memory problems, brain fog, and lack of concentration
· Constant fatigue and malaise
· Muscle cramping and pains and joint pain without inflammatory arthritis
· Numbness and tingling
· Frequent headaches
· Sensitivity to light, red eyes, and blurred vision
· Sinus infection, coughing, and shortness of breath
· Nerve pain
· Abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea
· Metallic taste
· Sudden weight gain
· Excessive thirst
· Increased urination
· Static shocks
· Sweats (especially night sweats)
Mold toxicity is part of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Ritchie Shoemaker, an author of eight books, including Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings, defines CIRS as an acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response acquired after an exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxic organisms, such as fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, and mycobacterium as well as an inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, proteinases, hemolysins, mannans, c-type lectins and possibly spirocyclic drimanes, plus volatile organic compounds.“
According to Dr. Shoemaker, 24 percent of the world’s population is genetically vulnerable to mold toxicity, and 95 percent of mold illnesses occur in this subgroup. He explained that people who are genetically sensitive to mold can’t recognize specific toxins (like mold) as toxins, and as a result, the toxins get recirculated in their bodies. This leads to a state of chronic inflammation which requires adequate treatment immediately. If CIRS is not treated, the inflammatory response and resulting symptoms may last for years.
According to experts, you should meet the following criteria in order to be diagnosed with CIRS:
- History, symptoms, and signs consistent with biotoxin exposure. When it comes to cases of mold toxicity, history should include exposure to toxin-producing molds as documented by the EPA-approved ERMI test. In other cases like microcystin or ciguatera, history should include laboratory evidence of exposure or likely exposure.
- A genetic predisposition to illnesses related to biotoxins, based on HLA susceptible haplotype identification.
- Documented abnormalities by Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) testing.
- Biomarkers consistent with the vascular, neuroimmune, and endocrine abnormalities which characterize the CIRS.
We recommend you to make the following steps if you suspect that you have problems with mold:
- Learn more about mold illness by reading Dr. Shoemaker’s book that is titled “Surviving Mold”. You should also visit his website www.survivingmold.com.
- Hire an environmental professional to perform a visual inspection of your home and sample several rooms. One of the best tests is called ERMI.
- Work with a physician certified in the Shoemaker Protocol. Click here for more info on how to find one.