People are routinely coming in contact with molds usually by breathing or touching. Molds generally found in outdoors and indoors. As molds grow on organic matter, they release spores into the air which can be easily inhaled by breathing. Exposure to a certain type of molds (fungus) produces a hazardous effect on human health. It has three specific mechanisms by which mold spores affect human health; Overstimulated Immune response (allergy or hypersensitivity), toxic/irritant effects mediated by mold byproducts and direct infection by the organism.
Is There A Blood Test For Mold Allergy?
Whenever any allergen enters the body, the body launches an immune response against that allergen and tries to kill it. If the immune system fails to neutralize the substance, it leads to infection and other symptoms and if the body succeeds in killing and neutralizing that antigen, the body is safe from the effects of allergen.
Blood is analyzed for mold allergy on the basis of identification of two substances present in the blood. These are.
Presence Of Immunoglobulin. It is one of the oldest methods to detect for mold allergy and estimated that approximately 10% of the population has IgE antibodies to common inhalant molds. An allergic response is seen when the immune system overstimulated, and the produced antibodies called immunoglobulin. A patient exposed to mold have elevated the level of mold specific Immunoglobins like IgE, IgG, IgM, and IgA in addition to decreases CD56 and increases CD4, CD8, CD3, CD20 count.
Presence Of Mycotoxins. Mycotoxin produced through spores of fungi which is possible pathogens in human disease. Mycotoxins directly produce brain damage, hepatic and renal cancer, nervous system damage, permanent genetic mutation, and death. Mycotoxins, a secondary metabolite product of spore-like aflatoxins, trichothecenes, and ochratoxins, can be identified or extracted from a patient’s body fluid. Mycotoxins have the ability to remain in the patient for several years even after the person has been isolated from the mold-contaminated environment. Mycotoxin identification and extraction methods like competitive ELISA and immunosorbent columns are two common methods which determine antigen-antibody reactions to detect specific mycotoxin and other antigens.
If you are sensitive to mold than histamine-mediated immune response takes place similar to those that occur in other types of allergies. The primary symptoms include
- A runny nose
- Irritated, itchy throat
- Watery red and itchy eyes
- Muscular pain
The long-term exposure of mold, even if it does not exhibit immediate symptoms can produce some feature included
- Losing your hair
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Abdomen pains
- Mental confusion or memory loss
- Sensitivity to light
- Muscle cramps
- Gaining weight for no reason
These symptoms get worse the condition when the individual has co-existing with other diseases like asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The symptoms of asthma can be
- Mucus plugging
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty in breathing
Diagnosis Of Mold Allergy
Blood Test. A Blood sample is taken out by the doctor and sent it to the testing laboratory for assessing the immune-mediated response. One of the important methods to detect the mold infection in blood is Memory Lymphocyte Immuno-stimulation Assay. Other tests also help to detect molds toxins like Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and radioallergosorbent. These tests determine not only the mold allergy to different species but also help to diagnose severe reactions due to biotoxins which explore the mold poisoning in an allergic individual.
Prick Test. This test can be done by allergist’s or doctor who involves in hypersensitivity detection. In this method, they will pick a small gaze needle into the skin which contains a tiny amount of purified mold allergen and observes the reaction. If the person is sensitive to mold than rashes and a red patch will be on the surface of the skin due to the release of histamine.
Allergy due to molds causes various changes in the immune system of the body, a direct effect of which is seen in the blood. Various blood tests can be performed to identify the presence of immunoglobins or antibodies.
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