What Are The Symptoms Of Mold Inhalation
Walking into a room where the mold spore count is high could have a significant effect on your response system. For those who have an allergic reaction to mold spores, the response is more immediate. These individuals may experience watery or itchy eyes, a runny nose, redness around the eyes, shortness of breath, or wheezing. Persistent exposure can create a nagging cough, asthma, or frequent sinusitis. As these symptoms sound much like the common cold or seasonal allergies, it can often be hard to narrow down the culprit as mold exposure.
As symptoms and severity are different for every person, it is difficult to say how long the symptoms will persist. Generally, the length of exposure, the type of mold that an individual has been exposed to, and the bodys natural health and detox process impact how long a person may struggle with a mold illness. Natural detoxing can see symptoms subside in a few days, particularly if the source of mold is eliminated or the individual leaves the environment where the mold is present.
How Can You Detox From Mold
In addition to removing yourself from the environment where the mold is or having the mold removed, you can help your body detox the spores that have been inhaled and trapped inside. You can take supplements to build up your immune system, reestablish your gut health, and reduce inflammation:
Rather than trying to handle mold exposure on your own, you should consider seeing a physician. The situation may be more serious than you think.
What Is Visual Contrast Sensitivity Testing
According to the online VCS Test creators:
Visual contrast sensitivity testing measures your ability to see details at low contrast levels and is often used as a nonspecific test of neurological function. Similar in form to a standard audiometry hearing test, a VCS test generally involves the presentation of a series of images of decreasing contrast to the test subject and the recording of the contrast levels where patterns, shapes, or objects can or cannot be identified. The results of the test can then be used as an aid in the diagnosis of visual system dysfunction.
The test is based on a substantial body of research and has been taken by more than 18,000 people. The test is;widely used and relied upon by individuals, healthcare professionals, and researchers from all over the world.
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Your Personal Health Coaching Call
During your one-on-one call, your health coach will assess your symptoms and reasons for doing this lab test.;Your coach will explain your lab results, answer any questions you may have, and you walk away with personalized recommendations according to your test results.;These can include:
- A supplement plan
- Lifestyle changes
No More GuessworkRather than other at-home tests that make you guess at the results, our health coaches take the time to assess your results and go over them with you step by step. And you can feel confident that the supplements, diet and lifestyle changes we recommend are the right ones for your body and your health goals.
Visual Contrast Sensitivity Testing
How it works: Visual Contrast Sensitivity testing aims to measure a component of neurological function that may be affected by exposure to mycotoxins and other biotoxins. This method looks at your ability to see details in varying contrasts of black, white, and grey on a computer screen.
Pros: VCS testing is inexpensive, fast, and simple. It can also be easily repeated throughout treatment. One study found that VCS scores were lower among employees of a school that had been exposed to water damage than employees at an unaffected school .;;;
Cons: VCS testing is limited in the sense that it cant tell you how much mold youve been exposed to, how much you are excreting, or how exposure may be affecting other areas beyond neurological function.;
Who its best for: VCS testing may be best for those who suspect or know theyve been exposed to mold or mycotoxins, have neurological symptoms, and are on a budget.;;
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Why Are Mold Issues Difficult To Diagnose
Conventional medicine recognizes that mold can cause allergies but does not recognize that mycotoxins emitted by some species of indoor mold can cause a problem, says McElroy. This means that doctors unfamiliar with mold and mold treatment may miss one of the main types of mold reactionsthe chemical and inflammatory reaction. This is for a few reasons:
- There is no gold standard in testing for mold
- There is no standardized treatment protocol or drug for mold toxicity
- There are very limited human-based studies looking at the connection between mycotoxins and human health
- The presentation of mold issues is very different among patients
- Not everyone exposed to mold mycotoxins will have a reaction to them
Its no wonder mold illness can be hard to diagnose. Fortunately, holistic medicine providers consider environmental factors that affect health when evaluating patients and may have additional advanced training in treating mold toxicity.
According to McElroy, one of the biggest challenges with mold is that mycotoxins can cause only some people to launch an inflammatory response. This unpredictable response can go on for years after a long-term exposure in a susceptible individual, she explains.
Mold And Mycotoxin Testing Options
There are many different kinds of tests available, and they each have their own benefits and challenges.
Some tests look at levels of mold exposure or the burden of mycotoxins on the body, while others analyze how the immune system is reacting to mold and mycotoxins.;
Research on all mold and mycotoxin testing is limited, and there is no perfect test . There are currently no FDA-approved laboratory tests for mycotoxins.;
Keep in mind that two people may have similar levels of exposure to toxins but very different capacities to detoxify from them.
When selecting a test, ideally with the help of a practitioner, consider your main question. Is it Have I been exposed to mold? or is it How is my body handling a known mold exposure?
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Home Environmental Testing Companies
An indoor environmental professional is an industrial hygienist who inspects a wide range of environmental concerns including bacteria, odors, radon, and mold. They determine the problem in the indoor environment and ways to improve the environment for individuals. So in a way, indoor environmental professionals are like a doctor of your home.
Environmental Analytics is an Arizona-based environmental consulting firm that brings an indoor environmental professional to your home to perform an on-site inspection.;
Founder of Environmental Analytics, and sick building expert Michael Schrantz advises that you must be careful of companies who call themselves mold testing companies and dont do a proper job of testing. For example, some companies may only test for mold by taking a direct air sample by walking through your home.;
While air sampling is beneficial, youre not going to be able to detect all mold through an air sample. Thats because not all mold is the same some molds are heavier than others. Some are stickier than others. If a mold is heavy, it wont stay airborne for a long amount of time and wont be detected by the air sample.
Schrantz suggests that in addition to air sampling, other mold testing needs to be conducted.;
Green Home Solutions is another Arizona-based company that tests and inspects for mold, determines a mold remediation plan, mold containment, and mold treatment.
How Do You Test For Toxic Mold Exposure
All in all, there is no simple way to diagnose mycotoxin illness, says McElroy. But testing is typically the first step. She prefers to start patients with at-home tests and also recommends a home inspection by a certified mold inspector. should only be ordered, in my opinion, once the environment is evaluated for the source of mold, explains McElroy. The most direct way to test for mold toxicity is a urine test that measures for metabolites of mold and mycotoxins as well as glutathione levels . That said, as McElroy explains, I never place the entire diagnosis of mycotoxin illness on tests alone. Why? Because mold tests have some major drawbacks, including:
- False negatives and false positives are common
- They are not covered by insurance
- You cant test all toxins there are hundreds
- The levels found on tests dont necessarily correlate with the severity of symptoms
These tests clearly arent perfect. In fact, McElroy says she has seen patients who were really sick have almost nothing show up on the test while the healthy spouses of those same patients register values off the charts, so having a clinician thats willing and able to do some extra investigation into symptoms of mold and toxic mold exposure is key.
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How Do Doctors Test For Mold Exposure
If you have molds in your home and youre not paying any heed to your surroundings, you are putting your health in jeopardy. Molds are fungal species known to create havoc in your life. It is the moisture to be blamed for insidious mold growth in your homes. Having molds in homes and buildings is a pressing problem that should not be overlooked.
Wherever there is high humidity, these spores grow abundantly. Not only humidity feeds molds but also the puddles and the damp materials in your homes give these molds a safe and favorable place to live. Therefore, living in a water-damaged home or building can lead to serious health issues. This allows the tiny bubble of fear to expand in the heads of landowners and business owners.
If you have a hunch that molds are thriving at your place, take it seriously. The best way to get to these molds is by noticing water stains on walls, discoloration of paint, surface deterioration, flaky wallpaper, musty odor, etc.
Before we let you know how doctors test for mold exposure, it is of supreme importance to first get you acquainted with the mold-centered health problems for which youll turn to your doctor.
Molds are capable of producing many substances that can be detrimental. Allergens, irritants, and biotoxins are a threat to human health.
Common Signs Of Toxic Mold Poisoning
Symptoms and signs of mycotoxins;poisoning are very different depending on many factors. How this poisoning presents itself depends on:
- Type of mycotoxin
- Genetic structure
- And others
This means there can be;a major;difference in symptoms between individuals in;the population;exposed to it.;To some extent it is clear that mycotoxicosis can increase susceptibility to infections, worsen;the effect;of other toxins present and advance other health conditions.
Although acute poisoning is more obvious and sometimes has grave effects, chronic exposure is much more present in the population in general.;Finally, mycotoxins can cause changes in immune, nervous system, behavior, mood and even development problems like stunting.
The other way that molds can affect your health is through allergy and IgE-mediated pathways. Mold can introduce multiple different types of antigens to your system. One of the main antigens involved is mold spores. Mold can lead to asthma, hypersensitivity reactions, and pulmonary inflammatory disease.
There are many different variants that could cause a patient to have one reaction compared to another. One of these factors is the human leukocyte antigen patterns. Another likely significant factor is the glutathione transferase genes. One study found that polymorphism in GSTP1 influenced illness and treatment after exposure to water-damaged buildings.
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Where Is Mold Found
Mold is found all over the world. It can grow on and in buildings and also outdoors. Although mold can exist in a variety of places, it grows especially well in damp, moist environments. Your walls, furniture, floors, carpets, and other areas of your home can contain mold. Kitchens, bathrooms, and other damp places are especially likely to have mold. Mold is common everywhere, and people are exposed to it every day.
What Type Of Functional Medicine Lab Tests Can Help Determine If You Have Mold Exposure
Mycotoxin testing is used to detect mold metabolites.; So what mold metabolites can we test for? Here are the ones I look for in my practice:
- Aspergillus: the main metabolites include Ochratoxin, Aflatoxin, and Gliotoxin.
- Penicillum: the main metabolites include Sterigmatocystin and Mycophenolic Acid.
- Fusarium: the main metabolites include Enniatin B and Zearalenone
- Chaetomium Globosum: the main metabolites include Chaetoglobosin A
- Stachybotrys: is commonly found in water-damaged buildings. The main metabolites include Riordin E and Verrucarin A.;
So what are the effects of mycotoxins and where are they typically found?;;
Ochratoxin A can affect the kidneys, immune system, and neurological system, and is produced by molds in the Aspergillus and Penicillum families. Exposure is primarily through water damaged buildings, but can also be through certain foods.; Aflatoxin is also primarily from Aspergillus and is found mostly in foods.; It is a carcinogenic substance and can also cause liver damage, mental impairment, and immune suppression. Gliotoxin is typically from aspergillus exposure, and targets the immune system and can also lead to neurological symptoms.;;
Mycophenolic Acid produced by the Penicillum fungus that can suppress the immune system. MPA exposure can increase the risk of opportunistic infections.
Citrinin is elevated with multiple different molds. It can lead to suppression of the immune system, kidney damage, and is a carcinogen as well.;
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Take Natural Detox Supplements
Natural detox supplements will prove to be just as useful in getting rid of your symptoms as man made medicines, but when you feel better- you can be sure that its because your body is actually healing.
My top three recommendations to heal from mold toxicity are:
- CGEL: ;increases the cells natural ability to undergo the natural mechanism of detox;
- BIND: is a powerful binder that sweeps the body and effectively eliminates toxins from the blood;
- CytoDetox: enters the cell membrane and act as a vehicle to getting rid of the toxins as we up-regulate cell function, and prevents reabsorption.
See the detox supplements Dr. Pompa recommends.
How Can I Check For Mold
Its best to hire a professional to help you identify and remove mold, especially if youre allergic or vulnerable to it.
You should also consider hiring help if the mold covers more than 10 square feet, or if its hidden behind wallpaper, ceiling tiles, or other areas.
Here are some steps for identifying and removing mold.
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Mold Toxicity: How To Diagnose And Treat Mold Exposure For Good
Have you ever left a piece of bread out on your kitchen counter for too long?;
If so, you probably saw some blue-ish, green, and grey hairy spots begin to grow. Never mind that sandwich for lunch;
The culprit: mold.
Mold is a fungus that grows through filaments called hyphae. Different types of mold vary in color, shape, and size. But they all have one thing in common they all need moisture to grow.;
Toxic mold can grow indoors and outdoors and can lead to mold-related allergies and illnesses. For some people exposure to mold can lead to a mold illness and could also eventually lead to mold toxicity .; Does everyone exposed to mold react the same?; The answer is no! Some people are more susceptible to the effects of mold than others.; This is why it is possible for only 1 or 2 household members to have health issues secondary to mold when everyone seems fine.;
If you suspect youve been exposed to mold, you may have asked yourself questions like
What are common ways you can be exposed to mold?
How can you test your home for mold toxicity?
What should you do if youre experiencing mold toxicity symptoms?
Ill share the functional medicine approach to answering these questions below!
My Online Vcs Test Results
While the online VCS Test is free to take, I recommend making a small donation, which will unlock more detailed results, allow for multiple tests over time , and give the ability to download reports in PDF and csv format.
I have taken the online VCS Test twice, approximately 14 months apart. Here are the results of my first test:
Here is an explanation of how to interpret the charts:
The charts above plot the results of your contrast sensitivity test for each eye. The left axes represent contrast sensitivity, the right axes represent percentage contrast, and the bottom axes represent the spatial frequency of the parallel bars in the test images . Each plotted circle represents an image from your test, and its position corresponds to its contrast level and spatial frequency. The biotoxin columns 6 and 12 CPD are outlined in blue. A green-filled circle indicates that you answered correctly when asked to identify the tilt of the bars, whereas a red-filled circle indicates that you answered incorrectly. The black tails point in the direction the bars in the test images were tilted in your test, and where you answered incorrectly the red tails point in the direction you indicated.
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