Did you know that 70% of all dementia patients were exposed to mold?
Yes, that’s right. Dr. Dale Bredesen thought it was probably only about 15%. And was surprised to find in his research studies that it was at least 70%. And may be even higher.
Mold was one of many possible causes of my dementia
There were several factors that could have directly contributed to my dementia – individually, or in combination. I had experienced head trauma from multiple falls. I had diabetes with repeatedly high glucose levels related to my high-sugar diet. And I used insulin that frequently dropped my levels too low. I was deficient in both Vitamins D and B12. I did not accept hormone replacement therapy following my hysterectomy. I may have been exposed to EMF from my hybrid car. I had chronic antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections. And I was exposed to four different types of airborne mold spores in my home.
I was not genetically predisposed
Dementia does not run in my family. I was the only case. So my development of dementia was not genetic. It more than likely came from my head trauma, inflammation, deficiencies, and/or exposure to mold toxins – most of which are preventable and treatable. In fact, only 5% of all Alzheimer’s cases are genetic, and those are the early-onset type.
Many cases of dementia are preventable and treatable
The majority of dementias, be it Alzheimer’s or otherwise, are coming from factors that in many cases are both preventable and treatable. And yet family members often don’t see hope for improvement, especially when the person’s cognitive functions slip significantly. Mainly because they’ve been conditioned to believe that once it starts, it will not get any better. That it only gets worse.
That’s what I thought about my husband, and what Janet initially thought about me. But that old belief was wrong in many, many cases. And I say to you today – if you can pinpoint the cause(s), there is hope for a cure.
Mold was in my HVAC system
That said, I want to take a look at how mold/fungus may have contributed to my dementia. It was indeed present in my home. Aspergillius. Cladisprium. Pennicilium. Basidiospores. All airborne mold spores.
Several years before my husband or I showed any signs of dementia, it was brought to our attention that our HVAC system was producing mold in significant amounts. After reading up on mold, and how it can cause a whole host of health-related problems, we had a whole new HVAC system installed. Including all new duct work.
Allergies Vs. Dizziness and Balance Issues
What we did not know at the time was that the airborne mold spores had already gotten into the base of the carpet. They likely got stirred up and sifted into the air as we walked around the house. Richard developed allergies, and constantly complained that his nose was running all the time. I started to get dizzy a lot. Then mild balance issues – which could have been caused by the blood pressure medication I was on – or mold – or both. Mold can contribute to the development of dementia in one family member, and cause respiratory issues in another. It depends on the genetic traits each person has.
Richard wanted to sell the house, and move. But it was a buyers market. Home prices had fallen significantly. The offers we got were less than we originally paid. So we didn’t sell. He was convinced that his allergy symptoms were somehow related to the air in San Antonio. He used to say,
“We’ve got to get out of here before it’s too late.”
How right he was – even though he didn’t realize the problem was probably more related to our house than the city of San Antonio.
Then came dementia
A year or so later, Richard started to develop the classic signs of dementia-related memory loss. He progressed to having difficulty putting his words together. And he began to misspell words he’d previously known how to spell. My issues were still confined to dizzy spells and loss of balance. My symptoms eventually included loss of executive functioning (e.g., difficulty with organizing things, problems with calculation, visual perception problems, word-finding issues, and depression). These are classic signs of dementia related to inhalation of toxins. This type of dementia is often referred to as Lewy Body Dementia, and is the second leading, and most debilitating, type of Dementia.
My feet developed fungus
My feet developed some kind of fungus. I usually walked barefoot around the house. Janet bought me a foot bath and tea tree oil, but it didn’t help. Probably because I continued to go barefoot. Richard didn’t get it, likely because he always wore house slippers. At the time, none of us realized that the carpet had mold/fungus in it.
Janet’s allergies reacted to the mold in our home
After Richard and I died, Janet spent weeks emptying and preparing my house for sale. During that time, she started coughing up some of the most awful mucus you could imagine. By this time, she realized that mold was likely the culprit.
Her allergy symptoms cleared about two months after she sold my home. Before selling my home, she had all of the old carpet removed, cleaned the tile floors, and had the walls repainted throughout the home. She had the air tested again, and it was clear of any significant signs of mold.
Four types of mold in our home
Three of the mold spore types initially found in my home were known to pose threats to the respiratory system and/or brain. These included aspergillius, pennicilium, and cladosporium. The other mold, basidiospores, is not talked about much, as it is generally found in gardens and forests – not in homes.
But the level of basidiospores in my home was 640, as compared to the levels found in the air outside my home, which was < 13. The mold inspector was a little surprised about the higher reading inside our home. He said that particular type of mold spore is usually found more outdoors than inside. Yet in my home they were like 600 times higher inside, than out.
Basidiospores is a type of fungus that comes from mushrooms. The spores travel in the wind, and can get inside your home through an open door or window. I used to open my front door to allow fresh air inside on cooler days. So it’s possible that it got into my home that way.
Unseen mold in the carpet
I recall an occasion when one of my caregivers accidentally spilled a bucket of fresh water onto the carpet. She was puzzled when the white towels she used to sop up the water came up black. The carpet didn’t look black at all, but the towels used to soak up the spill were very black afterwards. It seems that spores had settled into the pile of the carpet.
I got out of there after the mold testing
Janet ordered mold testing after that, and of course I agreed with her to move to a memory care facility after learning there was mold spores in the air of my home.
and I started getting better
About a month after being in the memory care facility, my dementia symptoms started to get better. The improvement was sustained for a month, until I died from adverse effects of an antibiotic.
Did mold cause my dementia?
There is no way now to determine whether or not the mold was indeed a contributing factor to my dementia. I think it was – perhaps not the only factor, but one of many.
One thing for certain – mold is not good for you, regardless. If you’re in a moldy environment, get it fixed, or get out. As Richard said,
“We’ve gotta get out of here before it’s too late.”
Yeast infection treatment also used for basidiospores treatment
Looking back, I also recall being prescribed Fluconozole for yeast infections on different occasions. Fluconozole is also used to treat illnesses caused by basidiospores – so perhaps I was being treated, unwittingly by the doctor, for mold/fungus damage, as well. Or perhaps the basidiospores fungus is what caused my yeast infections?
Finally . . .
My advice to you is to investigate – try to find out if the dementia is caused by something that can be fixed. The majority can, but usually are not – likely due to lack of information. Now you know. And if my experience can be helpful to even one person, then I am forever grateful to share my stories.
Below are a few links I found informative, and would like to share with you.
Inhalational Alzheimer’s Disease – an unrecognized – and treatable epidemic
published by National Institutes of Health (NIH) by Dr. Dale Bredesen: