Considerations for Families
By Cesar Collado
When someone suffers from chronic, debilitating illness caused by mold exposure, they are often met with a lack of understanding or empathy. Questions about the legitimacy of their symptoms from others often leads patients to delay seeking help, and an accurate diagnosis becomes further delayed or elusive. In addition to this personal turmoil (human cost) the illness causes, it is also very costly economically and burdens entire families with medical and remediation bills for years to come. All of these costs seem immediate, but for many, they are drawn out and span years. Many patients are even suffering with and paying for the treatment of other chronic conditions for years before they ever figure out that mold was the main trigger or cause of ALL of the suffering.
To properly elucidate this sensitive topic, I want to really examine some of the long-term indirect costs of mold illness from more of a “other” symptom perspective. I will also go discuss some of the intangible costs or sacrifices some people have to endure. Due to mold illness, some patients are unable to pursue aspirations that can include their careers, dreams, and family.
There are many long-term costs, direct and indirect, that should be taken into consideration when mold begins to affect someone’s health. Important, but often not recognized are some of the long-term disease states brought on by mold illness and toxicity, especially when not properly diagnosed. It is therefore important to examine many of those chronic conditions to see where mold fits into the equation. Doing so can help to speed proper treatment, recovery and health. When this occurs, patients have an easier time winning the economic battle that often accompanies mold illness.
Mold can lead to many inflammatory syndromes leading to inflammatory or autoimmune diseases. Respiratory illness such as asthma is commonly developed in children exposed to moldy conditions. With 50 million Americans currently living with an autoimmune disease and the prevalence of chronic disease rising at alarming rates, it is imperative that the effect on U.S.
healthcare spending, as well as the financial burden on individual constituents faced with these diseases, be addressed.
Diseases such as asthma can last a lifetime. In addition, children with Asthma may face quality of life limitations. Physical activity or physically demanding careers requiring fitness may no longer be options for these individuals.
The impact of mold and mycotoxin exposure on neurological and psychiatric disorders is relatively unrecognized, but very real. The medical challenge is that a neurologist does not have any diagnostics, treatment, or medicines at their disposal to treat or remove mycotoxins. This is partly because that the highest concentration of toxins in the body will often lie in infected sinuses with close proximity to the blood brain barrier. In addition to neurotoxins, the brain’s inflammatory responses to foreign antigens contribute to tissue damage. These toxins have to be removed through detoxification over time. Sometimes, people need a “mechanic” to physically remove the cause through surgery or detoxification along with proper nutrition and supplements. You can read about the treatment of severe mycotoxicosis that have not responded to maximum therapy when they are addressed through surgery HERE.
Headaches or migraines, also neurological disorders, can be triggered by mold exposure. Migraine headaches have a significant impact on a patient’s livelihood and productivity. Migraines are a neurological disease characterized by recurrent episodes of severe headaches accompanied by other symptoms including nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and changes in vision. More than 36 million Americans have migraines. Although the overall cost attributable to migraines is difficult to measure, most of the impact has been associated with disability and decreased functional status and consequent indirect costs to employers. Migraineurs are estimated to require 3.8 bed rest days for men and 5.6 days for women each year.4 This figure can be divided into partial days as well, such as having to leave work early. This does not include the pain and suffering for patients who continue to work through the episodes.
For patients suffering from neurological difficulties, their potential family and societal contributions, ability to pursue a career, and career advancement can become impossible to quantify. The loss of cognitive and functional abilities impacts the individual and his or her family in profound ways. Caring for adults with cognitive impairments is often very stressful and demanding. Caregivers cope with their loved ones’ memory loss, behavioral and personality changes, chronic care needs and the high costs of care. Caregiving can span decades, can impact both the physical and mental health of the caregiver and can result in extreme economic hardship.
Related to neurological disorders, but distinctly different, are depression and anxiety morbidity with mold illness. It is difficult to ascertain whether the cause of the disorder is directly related to mold illness, given the common symptoms of lack of energy and fatigue. These often affect mood in a tremendous way. In addition, anxiety resulting from strained relationships, financial uncertainty, and PTSD brought on by re-exposure are common with mold illness. Regardless, the cause of the psychiatric symptoms must be addressed for the person to get better.
Virtually any of the over 100 named autoimmune disorders (there are many that have not yet been formally identified) can be triggered by inflammation due to mold. Diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, etc. can develop due to chronic inflammation. In these diseases, it is the body’s own immune system that is causing the disease. These diseases can last a lifetime requiring continuous treatments. Although the AARDA estimates that 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, the report notes that there is insufficient epidemiological data available to determine the full direct and indirect costs to the overall health care system due to autoimmune disease.”5.Autoimmune disease is one of the top ten causes of death in women under the age of 65, is the second highest cause of chronic illness, and is the top cause of morbidity in women in the United States. Exactly what triggers an autoimmune response is unknown; however, researchers do know that autoimmune diseases occur where there is a genetic predisposition in the family towards autoimmunity and the presence of an environmental trigger, such as viruses, bacteria, medications, pollutants, hormones, or stress. 6.Mold and mycotoxins would also fall under this description.
For patients with other inflammatory diseases, such as digestive diseases, like ulcerative colitis, Celiac or Crohn’s disease, quality of life is disrupted, and on-going treatment can be paralyzing for most middle- to low-income Americans. Average total charges for patients treated with biologics for the mild, moderate, and severe disease groups were $6,277, $10,033 and $37,135, respectively.1.These medications have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization. According to a studythat examined costs related to IBD conditions, the average total cost of hospitalization is $35,378.6. These costs include diagnostics, imaging, and colonoscopy procedures.
Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a complex inflammatory disease affecting the nose and sinuses of an estimated 16% of the United States population. Those affected by CRS experience a significant decrease in quality of life and productivity. CRS often results in long-term impairment and, for some, disability. The direct cost of CRS treatment per individual ranged from $5,560 to $5,955 USD per year.7. The indirect costs are similar to migraines as episodes impact the patient’s ability to function and may require absence from work or school.
Due to the chronic nature of most autoimmune diseases, patients often miss extended periods of employment. Because of this, patients are faced with thousands of dollars in medical expenses that they can no longer afford due to lost wages. With over 60% of families depend on dual incomes, any disability can have a profound impact on the family’s financial security. In addition, debilitation impacts parenting responsibilities. When a person is facing a severe autoimmune disease, the ability and tenure to work is compromised. For example, approximately 50 percent of RA patients become unable to work within ten years of disease onset.5.
While it cannot be quantified, the impact of mold sickness can impact a child or adult’s career aspirations. The inability to pursue education has a direct impact on earning potential of an individual. There are substantial differences in lifetime earnings based on level of education.6
Finally, a cost figure cannot be placed on the inability for a person to pursue their dreams. A recent discussion with the mother of a teenager who suffers from mold sensitivity brought awareness to the difficulty for her son’s inability to pursue his chosen career. He comes from a multi-generation family of military officers and cannot follow his father’s footsteps. No price can be placed on that.
Preventive and Mold Hygiene Maintenance to Improve Long-Term Wellness
When getting at the heart of preventative care, so that these long-term costs do not become a part of your reality, there are quite a few steps that you can take to improve your outcomes.
- Perhaps the single most effective treatment a patient can do is regular sinus rinsing with a saline rinse and CitriDrops Dietary Supplement. A Nasal rinse system will physically remove mold and mycotoxins from the point of entrance.
- Burning EC3 Air Purification Candles will remove mold and mycotoxins from the immediate air in indoor spaces, especially those spaces that you have no control over, like hotel rooms, offices, rentals;
- Using an EC3 SANI+TIZER fogger with EC3 Mold Solution can be invaluable when maintaining an area free of mold. This is especially applicable when you cannot leave and must live in a less than ideal water-damaged environment.
Each of these solutions can contribute to removing the cause of inflammation to help your immune system keep up with the mold.