When exposed to household mold, neurological symptoms may result as well as the more common respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, bronchitis, sinusitis and pneumonia. You can read about how mold affects the respiratory system here. Neurological symptoms related to mold are less common and less research has been done in this area. However, there is a good bit of anecdotal evidence that mold can affect the central nervous system, including the brain. We’ll tell you what the research says and tell you how to get help if you think you are experiencing neurological problems due to mold.
Neurological symptoms of mold exposure may include:
Of course, these symptoms can be caused by things other than mold, including autoimmune disorders, various types of infection, vitamin deficiencies and psychological disorders.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves, usually in the hands and/or feet. It is commonly caused by things like diabetes mellitus and vitamin B12 deficiency, but research published in the US. National Library of Medicine (NCBI) has shown it can also be caused by exposure to mold. Other possible causes of peripheral neuropathy include alcoholism, autoimmune disorders, Lyme disease, some medications used to treat cancer, exposure to heavy metals, and disorders affecting the bone marrow (including cancer).
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy often include:
Less common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:
If you’re experiencing symptoms of mold-related neurological problems, it is imperative that you see a doctor right away. Some symptoms may be reversible with prompt treatment but if you delay, things like peripheral neuropathy may plague you for the rest of your life. In addition, some of these symptoms can signal other serious, even life-threatening, conditions, including some types of cancer. You may suspect mold is causing your symptoms but you need to see a doctor to find out for sure.
Describe all of your symptoms to your doctor, including any respiratory symptoms or other signs of illness. Let your doctor know when the symptoms began and if they’ve changed or gotten worse over time. If you’ve been exposed to mold in the home, let your doctor know about that, as well.
Your doctor will take a thorough history and do a physical exam, including a neurological exam. Depending upon your symptoms and the results of your exam, your doctor may order some tests, including blood tests, x-rays, a CT scan or MRI, nerve function tests, a nerve biopsy and/or a skin biopsy. You may be referred to one or more specialists, including a neurologist (a doctor that specializes in the nervous system), an infectious disease specialist, a psychiatrist or psychologist (to do a psychological evaluation if you are experiencing symptoms like depression), a neurosurgeon (a surgeon specializing in the nervous system, to do a nerve biopsy), and/or an otolaryngologist (a doctor that specializes in the ears, nose and throat, if you are experiencing symptoms like dizziness and poor balance).
As you can see, diagnosing mold-related neurological symptoms can be complicated and it may take some time to get an accurate diagnosis and to rule out other illnesses.
In addition to seeking medical treatment for your mold neurological symptoms, you’ll also need to remove all traces of mold from your home. If you continue to be exposed to mold, your condition may not improve and may even worsen despite medical treatment.
If you’re experiencing mold-related health problems, we recommend hiring someone to handle the mold removal for you. The process of cleaning up mold stirs up mold spores and exposes you to more of the substance that is making you ill. It can cause your condition to worsen. Even if you’re thinking of handling the job yourself, though, you can schedule a free in-home consultation with an experienced mold removal professional for some expert advice. Just follow this link to find qualified professionals offering free consultations in your area.