Mold and Lyme disease are two conditions that can have a significant impact on a person's health. While these two conditions may seem unrelated, recent research has shown that there is a strong connection between them. In this blog post, we will explore the link between mold and Lyme disease, and explain how understanding this relationship can help improve your health.
What is Mold Illness?
Mold illness, also known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), is a condition caused by exposure to mold. When a person inhales mold spores, their immune system may respond by releasing inflammatory chemicals that can cause a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms can include fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, and respiratory problems.
Mold illness is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms can be similar to other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis. It is estimated that up to 50% of buildings in the United States are water-damaged, which can lead to mold growth and an increased risk of mold illness.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick. The symptoms of Lyme disease can vary widely, but they often include a "bull's eye" rash at the site of the tick bite, fever, fatigue, joint pain, and headaches. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to more severe symptoms such as heart palpitations, nerve pain, and arthritis.
Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms can be similar to other conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. In some cases, Lyme disease can also lead to chronic Lyme disease, which can cause long-term symptoms even after the infection has been treated.
The Connection Between Mold and Lyme Disease
Recent research has shown that there is a strong connection between mold and Lyme disease. When a person is exposed to mold, their immune system may become weakened, making them more susceptible to infections such as Lyme disease. In addition, both mold illness and Lyme disease can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to a wide range of symptoms.
One study published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology found that exposure to mold can weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infections. Another study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found that exposure to mold can increase the risk of Lyme disease by up to 40%.
Like mold illness (CIRS), Lyme disease symptoms are caused by a dysregulated immune system and overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins produced by the immune system. CIRS and Lyme disease can also trigger the same inflammatory pathways. When these immune system responses are used appropriately, they can help to kick the immune system into gear to fight pathogens and then calm to restore homeostasis in the body. However, in conditions like Lyme disease and CIRS, they go into overdrive. When the bacteria (Lyme disease) or mycotoxins (CIRS) remain in the body, the person remains inflamed, creating a dysregulated immune system and causing many life-changing symptoms.
As is often the case in functional medicine, it’s hard to pinpoint a single culprit to a chronic health condition. This is certainly the case for someone battling Lyme or CIRS. When a person has Lyme and is exposed to mold mycotoxins, their bodies can weaken significantly. The same thing can happen if a person has CIRS and is then exposed to Lyme. If a patient has one of these conditions, they become more susceptible to the other, creating a cascade of negative effects on the body.
How to Protect Yourself from Mold and Lyme Disease
If you are concerned about mold and Lyme disease, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are some tips to help reduce your risk:
Reduce your exposure to mold
To reduce your risk of mold illness, it's important to reduce your exposure to mold. This can be done by:
- Fixing any water leaks in your home or workplace promptly
- Using a dehumidifier to keep the humidity level in your home below 50%
- Cleaning up any mold that you see immediately
- Using an air purifier with a HEPA filter to remove mold spores from the air
Protect yourself from ticks
To reduce your risk of Lyme disease, it's important to protect yourself from ticks. This can be done by:
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when you're outdoors
- Using a tick repellent that contains at least 20% DEET
- Checking your body for ticks after spending time outdoors
- Showering within 2 hours of coming indoors to help wash off any ticks
Recovering & Restoring Your Health
Mold toxicity and Lyme disease is are incredibly difficult conditions, and aren’t getting the help you need, contact Holtorf Medical Group today. Our team of expert doctors will not just treat your symptoms, they will address the root cause.