Recently I was diagnosed by my doctor with a Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD). Treatment for this is not really that different to what I am already doing. It involves looking after yourself (sleep, diet, exercise, stress management). It also involves, reducing your exposures to your environmental triggers: food (high histamine in particular), medicines (Aspirin, NSAIDS other associated with pseudo allergy), chemicals, pathogens and toxicants in general.
Mast cell stabilisers, e.g. medications like anti histamines, low dose tricyclic anti depressant (e.g. Amitriptyline) and also some food substances e.g. quercitin, luteoliln) are often recommend in treatment. These are helping my daughter a lot who also has MCAD, she also uses Patanol and Patenese as recommended by her Allergist – immunologist. Due to my level of hypersensitivities – I still have problems tolerating ‘all pharmaceutical interventions.” so I am going to continue to rely on food and environmental exposure management. For the time being anyways
As MCAD impacts our family I thought I better do some personal research.
Here is what I have found out…..
Mast Cells are part of the immune system. They help the body defend itselfs against invaders and threats. When a person has too many mast cells, too much histamine and other chemicals are released into the body, causing a wide range of allergic like symptoms. This is Mastocytosis. It is rare.
When the mast cells are over responding to threats and invaders (e.g. pathogens, chemicals, toxins) this is know as a Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). This is more common than mastocytosis. Like Mastocytosis, MCAS also causes wide spread symptoms. In fact symptoms can be the same. Symptoms can vary from person to person. A subset of people with Mast Cell Disorders experience Anaphylaxis
Signs and Symptoms
- Abdominal abdominal pain, intestinal cramping and bloating, diarrhea and/or obstipation, nausea, non-cardiac chest pain, Helicobacter pylori-negative gastritis, malabsorption Oropharyngeal burning pain, aphthae
- Respiratory cough, asthma-like symptoms, dyspnea, rhinitis, sinusitis Ophthalmologic conjunctivitis, difficulty in focusing
- Hepatic splenomegaly, hyperbilirubinemia, elevation of liver transaminases, hypercholesterolemia
- Cardiovascular tachycardia, blood pressure irregularity (hypotension and/or hypertension), syncope, hot flush
- Neuropsychiatric headache, neuropathic pain, polyneuropathy, decreased attention span, difficulty in concentration, forgetfulness, anxiety, sleeplessness, organic brain syndrome, vertigo, lightheadedness, tinnitus Cutaneous urticaria pigmentosa, hives, efflorescences with/without pruritus, telangiectasia, flushing, angioedema
- Stabilise Mast Cells: medications like anti histamines, supplements or foods containing quercetin, luteolin
- Reduce exposure to Triggers.
Each MCAS patient has a unique set of triggers that cause their mast cells to degranulate. These triggers are shared in common by many MCAS sufferers and include physical factors such as temperature changes, friction, exercise, fever, emotional stress, alcohol, drugs (NSAIDS, Opioids), chemicals, scents and high histamine foods. Some patients are susceptible to some or all of these well known mast cell triggers and they are well aware of them, while other patients do not seem to know what is triggering their mast cells to degranulate. The best way for a MCAS patient to identify and remember their triggers is to maintain an ongoing record, updating it as needed.