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There are many reasons to keep toxic mold out of your home. It can damage the structure of your home and lower your home value. Long-term exposure to toxic mold can cause toxic mold syndrome, which can bring several health issues, including asthma and other respiratory issues. But did you know toxic mold syndrome can also impact the brain? It’s important to know the risks of toxic mold syndrome on your health, including the impact on your brain, so that you can understand the urgency of toxic mold removal:
Toxic mold syndrome, or mold illness, is a physical inflammatory response to exposure to toxic mold. Mold can grow in your walls, ceiling, or floors, unnoticeable at first. As it grows, it can make its way into your ventilation system and then into the air your family breathes. And it will only spread from there. When you breathe in toxic mold for a long time, it can inflame your respiratory system, exacerbating and sometimes causing conditions like asthma. The longer toxic mold syndrome goes on, the more risk it has of affecting your brain as well as your respiratory system.
The danger of toxic mold is that it creates toxic elements called mycotoxins that infect the brain. It’s these mycotoxins that can cause inflammation and even impact your metabolism. Mycotoxins can also cause cognitive symptoms such as memory loss, insomnia, confusion, or difficulty focusing. It’s mycotoxins that will cause most of the adverse effects on the brain due to mold exposure.
Stress and toxic mold sometimes go hand-in-hand. For instance, long-term exposure to toxic mold occurs more often in areas with low economic status, as homeowners in those areas may struggle to pay for the mold remediation, or renters may struggle to get their landlords to fix the issue. Mold also often follows a recent flood or other home water damage, which can be a stressful situation in itself.
So the cause of mold can often lead to stress, and then the exposure to mycotoxins and inflammation to the respiratory system can cause further stress. It causes a vicious cycle, but one thing is clear: removal of toxic mold will have a significant positive impact on your stress.
Anxiety and depression are common neurological conditions in the United States and beyond. They can both be caused by a combination of factors, internal and external, but studies have made it clear that both anxiety and depression have a connection to mold. A study by the American Journal of Public Health observed over 5,000 adults living with long-term mold exposure and away from these moldy environments. The study showed that those living in moldy environments were more likely to be depressed, and that where there was depression, there was more likely to be anxiety.
It’s understandable that with difficulty breathing, insomnia, and trouble focusing, chronic fatigue might follow. Toxic mold syndrome is exhausting, and mycotoxins can cloud your mind, making it difficult to feel energized and productive. In fact, in urinary tests, patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have been shown to have high levels of mycotoxins in their system, which has led to the belief that mycotoxins impact fatigue.
A 2020 study from Science Direct has made new discoveries about the effect of toxic mold on the brain. One significant finding was that those exposed to toxic mold showed inflammation of the hippocampus. This explains the symptoms of memory loss, trouble concentrating, and insomnia; the hippocampus is the part of the brain that impacts memory, learning, and your sleep cycle. This inflammation can also cause headaches, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light and pain.
In severe cases, toxic mold syndrome can lead to neurodegenerative diseases. For instance, there is a specific type of Alzheimer’s disease called inhalational Alzheimer’s disease or cortical Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that cortical Alzheimer’s disease is caused by exposure to toxins such as mold and fungi. And that’s not the only neurodegenerative disease that can be impacted by mold. Other severe degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease have a hypothesized connection to fungus spores such as mold.
It’s not always about toxic mold syndrome creating new problems. It can also worsen pre-existing conditions. Obviously, if you have asthma before you’re exposed to toxic mold, the toxic mold exposure will grant you no favors when it comes to breathing. The same can be said for ADHD or traumatic brain injuries. Toxic black mold decreases blood flow to the prefrontal cortex, which makes it difficult to heal from a TBI or to focus when struggling with ADHD. Because memory loss, lack of focus, and fatigue are symptoms of depression, toxic mold syndrome can double bad depression days. In addition to exacerbating pre-existing conditions, some symptoms of toxic mold syndrome — such as anxiety and insomnia — are similar to that of bipolar disorder, so it can be easily misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder.
The good news is that as serious as toxic mold syndrome can be, most symptoms will disappear when toxic mold is removed from the bloodstream. That’s why it’s crucial to call in a professional as soon as you know that you have a toxic mold problem. Valor Mold can help with expert mold testing and mold remediation. Need help removing toxic mold from your home? Contact Valor Mold today to learn more or schedule a mold test.
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