What Illnesses Are Caused by Mold Problems?

What Illnesses Are Caused by Mold Problems?You've no doubt read at least some of the news accounts about connection between mold and your health. The stories often include reports of illness suffered by various individuals, but the details are often vague.

When it comes to mold and your health, its presence can cause a wide range of ailments depending on the individual and length of exposure. Here is a closer look at some of the more common illnesses experienced as a result of mold.

• Allergic Reactions

Mold reproduces via spores, which are released into the air where they drift along until they land on a damp spot where they can grow. As you inhale these spores, your immune system recognizes them as a foreign presence and responds by producing antibodies.

Allergies are the result of a hypersensitive immune system. Reactions are centered in the upper respiratory system, where spores settle in delicate membranes lining the lungs and nasal passages. Symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing and shortness of breath.

Don't breathe easy simply because you have no history of allergies. Experience prolonged exposure to mold and your health can eventually suffer.

• Asthma

While studies show that the presence of mold can more than double the chances of children developing asthma, there is at present no similar link between mold and your health with adults. However, there is research showing that people with pre-existing asthma can suffer higher frequency and intensity of attacks.

• Aspergillosis

Aspergillosis is a range of diseases specific to mold and your health. These ailments are related to Aspergillus, which is the most common form of mold. Forms of aspergillosis include:

• Allergic Aspergillus sinusitis mimics a sinus infection with symptoms such as stuffiness and headaches without actually causing an infection.

• Aspergilloma, or "fungus ball," is a ball of Aspergillus that forms in lungs or sinuses but does not travel to other areas of the body.

• Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis is a long-term illness of three or more months where cavities form in the lungs, sometimes in conjunction with fungus balls.

Individuals with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to developing aspergillosis.

• Depression

The connection between mold and your health isn't exclusively physical. In 2007 a landmark study was conducted by a team at Brown University, who ironically had intended to disprove previous suggestions of a link between mold and depression.

While the results didn't establish a definite cause-and-effect, researchers were astonished to discover solid evidence tying mold to depression. It's believed that mold toxins inhibit certain brain functions that govern impulse control, memory and socialization.

Mold Exposure Does Impact Your Health

Don't underestimate the link between mold and your health. If you or your family experience any of these symptoms with no other apparent cause, consult your physician immediately.