Can You Get Brain Damage from Mold?
Mold may be just tiny organisms but they are capable of causing mild to serious health problems. Individuals, however, vary on how much they are affected when exposed to mold. Some molds produce mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are irritants, allergens, and toxic chemical substances produced by mold. Vulnerable people can become seriously ill when exposed to these.
Toxic molds such as Stachybotrys have also been associated with brain damage. A research done by Cheryl Harding, a psychologist at the City University of New York, found out that Stachybotrys could cause brain damage. This can explain why some people who are exposed to mold, complain of anxiety and cognitive problems such as loss of memory. This article will look at mold toxins and how mold bring about brain damage.
Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by certain molds. They are commonly found in grain and nut crops. They may also be present in some fruits and vegetables. Mycotoxins could bring about damage by chemical reactions. They are invisible and deadly. One distinctive characteristic of mycotoxins is that they continue to do damages in feeds and hay even when the mold that produces them is no longer present. There are many of them and scientists are continually discovering new ones.
Aflatoxin is a poison caused by fungi in or on foods and feeds. A great damage brought about this poison is the cause of cancer. This poison is created by molds which are commonly present in cereal grains and legumes. Among the mycotoxins, aflatoxin is the most popular. There had been many researches done to uncover the dangers of this poison. In fact, various diseases which are related to aflatoxin have already been named. One of these is the aflatoxicosis which damage different living creatures. Many countries nowadays control exposure to this toxin by monitoring different traded products that may contain Aflatoxin.
How Mold Effects the Brain
Human brain is the most complex organ of the body which controls all parts of the body through a network of nerves. It’s an organ which is very sensitive to small changes in the amount of blood supplied to it and to chemical substances present in the blood. While it has a protective mechanism referred to as blood brain barrier (BBB), it is still susceptible to several organisms and toxins. When toxins cross the BBB, they can cause serious damage to its function and structure. This is usually referred to as neurotoxicity. It occurs as a result of nerve damage.
The mycotoxins produced by toxic mold produce harmful air in the environment which is very hazardous to men. When this air is inhaled it damages the body’s myelin. Myelin is an important substance in our bodies that covers the nerves. Toxic air depletes myelin thus exposing the nerves without protection. This would lead to the nerves’ failure to function correctly. When this happens, other essential components of the body, including the immune system, the nervous system, the respiratory, the skin, and the gastrointestinal system would also malfunction. Children could be poor victims of neurological problems like this since their brains and other organs of their body are not yet fully developed
Health Dangers of Mold Neurotoxicity
Mycotoxins produced by mold can cause multiple sclerosis, which is a degenerative disease of the brain. They also cause Oxidative stress which can lead to many brain diseases. Apart from these, toxins can cause autonomic nervous system disorders which can become irreversible if left untreated.
Patients suffering from mold neurotoxicity have reported multiple symptoms such as short-term memory loss, numbness or tingling sensation, depressions, headaches, mood swings, dizziness and many other symptoms.
Treatment and Prevention
For those who have been exposed to mold and are having the above mentioned symptoms, you need to see your doctor as fast as possible before the condition worsens. The next step will be eradication of the mold from your house. Mold testing and removal is done by professions but there are some steps you can undertake to control mold in your home.
It is always better to be proactive than reactive. If you are looking for a house to buy, you must check out every nook and cranny to ensure that there is no mold anywhere. Getting a house that is infested by black mold or any other mold cleaned can become quite a costly affair, and home insurance companies generally reject any claims for mold cleaning.
If you live in a humid area, that is where black mold thrives the most; you should monitor the humidity level in your home. The humidity level in your home should never exceed 55% RH. Anything above this will be an ideal breeding and thriving atmosphere for black mold and other fungi and dust mites.
To check if you have a humidity problem in your house, you must invest in humidity sensors or a hygrometer. You should place the moisture meter at places that you suspect have a high humidity level. You can move the meter around and check the moisture levels in various areas of the area. In case the humidity level is high, you would need to get a dehumidifier installed. You can get multiple dehumidifiers installed in various rooms of your house.
You should check for water leakage/seepage and rusty pipes. Nowadays, most pipes in houses are concealed and it is difficult to check for rusty pipes and leakages. The only way to check for leakages is to listen if you can hear water running when the tap is turned off. If you hear water running or smell a musty odor, you can expect for fungi to thrive in these areas.
If you have a leaking tap or toilet, or discolored damaged walls, these are the places where black mold can grow. The best way to ensure that your house stays free from any type of fungi growth is to keep the humidity level within prescribed limits and check your home regularly to ensure that there is no fungi or black mold spots in your house. Do not wait until the situation worsens, control it before it sets in.
Read our Previous article: Identifying Mold Problems in Your House