Mast Cell Disease – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Whether or not you have mast cell disease, it is important to understand the symptoms, causes, and possible treatment. These symptoms can be very confusing, as they affect many different body systems at once. You may feel ill after eating certain foods, smelling a certain fragrance, or exercising, making it difficult to determine the underlying cause.
What are symptoms of mast cell disease?
The symptoms of mastocytosis vary from person to person, and depending on where the cells are located, they can be mild or severe. People with cutaneous mastocytosis may experience an itchy, red rash, or hives. They may also experience skin blisters. Those with systemic mastocytosis may experience severe symptoms that last for up to fifteen minutes and are triggered by physical exertion or stress. However, many people may not experience any symptoms at all. However, those who do develop mastocytosis are at an increased risk of a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis. This is caused by abnormally high mast cells releasing histamine into the blood.
Although mast cell disease is relatively uncommon, it is increasingly recognized by physicians and patients alike. Other symptoms include unexplained abdominal pain and flushing. In rare cases, people may also experience severe reactions to foods, medicines, or insect stings. In most cases, these reactions are harmless and are often mistaken for a common allergic reaction.
Is mast cell disease curable?
Although there are no known cures for mastocytosis, it is treatable. With a combination of medication and lifestyle changes, sufferers can experience remission. Although patients will always have the disease, treatments help them manage it and live a fulfilling life. Listed below are some examples of the treatments that are currently available to patients.
If symptoms persist, doctors can prescribe medications that decrease the production of chemical mediators. This can be done through H1 and H2 antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, or leukotriene inhibitors. In some cases, physicians can also prescribe aspirin for pain relief. In case of severe symptoms, patients should carry a supply of epinephrine in two doses. They should learn how to administer it while lying down so that it will be absorbed quickly. They should also carry a physician-signed anaphylaxis action plan with them.
Symptoms of mast cell disease may vary between patients. A healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and may perform a blood or urine test. They may also take a sample of your skin. In some cases, doctors will also conduct a bone marrow biopsy. This involves inserting a needle into your bone marrow and removing some tissue.
How does mast cell disease occur?
People with mast cell disease have many symptoms, and the symptoms often vary. Because of this, people may visit more than one doctor before finding the diagnosis. Board-certified allergists and immunologists are good places to start. In rare cases, other specialists, including gastroenterologists and dermatologists, can diagnose mast cell disease. To diagnose the condition, doctors will examine a person’s blood and look for markers of mast cell response and burden. Other tests may include a 24-hour urine collection.
Mast cell disease can be classified into two main categories: primary and secondary. Primary MCAS occurs when a person’s mast cells become overactive, or release too much of a certain chemical mediator. This excess release can impact almost every part of the body. The primary affected areas include the skin, nervous system, heart, and gastrointestinal tract. It can range from a mild irritation to life-threatening symptoms.
How serious is mast cell disease?
Mast cell disease is a common immune cell disorder that causes an abnormal buildup of mast cells in the skin, bones, intestines, and other tissues. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including hives and fever. It can also increase the risk of anaphylaxis. It is not contagious, but it is dangerous if not treated promptly.
If the condition progresses to the extent that mast cells invade other tissue, it can lead to a solid tumor known as mast cell sarcoma. Fortunately, this is a relatively rare form of mast cell disease. Most cases do not involve additional skin tissue. However, there are some rare forms of mast cell cancer and leukemia.
Is mast cell an autoimmune disease?
Mast cells have long been a part of the innate immune system, serving as first responders to infections. However, recent research has shown that mast cells are also involved in autoimmunity. They have a role in triggering inflammation in several autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. In addition, mast cells recruit neutrophils to autoimmune sites.
Mast cell disorders are very difficult to diagnose in clinical practice and require a multidisciplinary approach and personalized medicine. Patients with suspected mast cell disease should be referred to a specialist who can confirm the diagnosis. Ideally, a patient should be examined by a pathologist to confirm the diagnosis. Until then, a high index of suspicion should be maintained in patients with symptoms consistent with the disease.