Allergies? Could this little known syndrome be the problem?
An allergy is when our body’s immune system reacts to normally harmless substances that it sees as harmful. The allergy-causing substances are called allergens.
Many substances can cause an allergic reaction, including: pollen, mould, animal hair, dust and dust mites, latex, medicines, insects, foods, trans fatty acids, intestinal microbiota, pre/probiotics, fibre intake, breast milk, environmental factors, farming practices, toxic load, pollution, food processing, and infections.
|Mast Cell Activation Syndrome – could this be causing your allergies?
What is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?
Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) causes a person to have repeated severe allergy symptoms affecting several body systems. In MCAS, mast cells mistakenly release too many chemical agents, resulting in symptoms in the skin, gastrointestinal tract, heart, respiratory, and neurologic systems.
Mast cells are present throughout most of our bodies and secrete different chemicals during allergic reactions. Symptoms include episodes of abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhoea, flushing, itching, wheezing, coughing, light-headedness, rapid pulse and low blood pressure. Symptoms can start at any age, but usually begin in adulthood. The cause of MCAS is unknown. Diagnosis is based on the symptoms, clinical exam, and specific laboratory testing. Other conditions may need to be excluded before MCAS can be diagnosed.
What causes MCAS?
Researchers aren’t sure what causes some people to experience MCAS. Some studies suggest there may be a genetic component to MCAS, but more research is needed to fully understand what puts a person at greater risk of developing the condition.
Researchers have identified three variants of MCAS. They include:
If you have secondary MCAS, you may find that exposure to certain things can trigger your symptoms. If you have primary or idiopathic MCAS, symptoms will occur without exposure to any particular trigger.
What are the symptoms?
The release of too many mast cell mediators can impact almost every part of your body. The primary affected areas typically include your skin, nervous system, heart, and gastrointestinal tract. The number of mediators released can cause symptoms that range from mild to life threatening.
Symptoms may include:
What can be done about it?
Treatments can include: