When someone asks me what Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) is, I respond, “My body is constantly having an allergic reaction.”
My allergist explained that my mast cells leak chemicals, such as histamine, when they aren’t suppose to. These chemicals cause a variety of disabling symptoms such as hives, swelling, joint and muscle pain, nausea, asthma, tachycardia, dizziness, and can even induce life-threatening anaphylaxis. I have to carry EpiPens with me at all times.
My mast cells leak regardless of what I do, but certain foods and activities rile them up even more. For me these triggers include exercise, showering, certain smells, temperature changes, and stress.
For more information, check out the following resources:
- A scientific explanation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23179866
- A brochure: http://www.tmsforacure.org/documents/TMSERBrochure.pdf
For a longer read, I highly recommend Never Bet Against Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and the Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity by Lawrence B. Afrin.