Ever since mast cells were discovered in 1879, we’ve had much better insight into why our bodies react in certain ways to allergens and irritants. What happens when these specialized cells start overreacting?
Mast cells are blood cells that cause allergic reactions but also help fight infections. They’re responsible for watery eyes during pollen season or in extreme cases, anaphylaxis if you eat something you’re highly allergic to.
When they overreact or react without a reason, it causes mast cell activation syndrome. If you’re wondering if you’ve ever suffered from MCAS, we’ll look at the causes and mast cell activation syndrome symptoms you should watch out for.
What is MCAS?
As we mentioned before, mast cells are cells within your blood that help us deal with allergens. They produce chemicals called mediators to trigger reactions to deal with allergens and irritants.
Histamine is one of the chemicals that most people are familiar with. Symptoms of histamine in your system includes watery eyes, tightened airways, headaches, red, itchy skin, and more.
Although these symptoms are uncomfortable, they help our body heal and get rid of allergens. With MCAS, your body overproduces these chemicals or produces them at the wrong time.
With MCAS, your body is flooded with signals that there’s something wrong. It mounts an attack on an enemy that may or may not be there.
What Causes MCAS?
Every body is different. Therefore, MCAS triggers vary from person to person.
However, these are some of the most common causes of mast cell activation syndrome:
- Chronic stress
- Dietary choices
- Smells like smoke or perfume
- Animal bites or insect stings
As you can see, there are many ways that your body’s mast cells can be triggered. So what are the symptoms of mast cell activation syndrome you can look out for?
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Symptoms
Remember, a regular allergic response is different from MCAS. With mast cell activation syndrome, your body is constantly reacting and stressing out your immune system.
- Common symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Chest pain
- Rapid heart beat
- Changes in blood pressure
- Problems with memory; brain fog
- Chronic fatigue
- Stomach issues
- Flushed face and/or chest
- Chronic musculoskeletal pain
If you have MCAS, your body can get worn out from always trying to fight off to a perceived threat. If you’re experiencing these signs and symptoms, it’s time to take charge of your health.
Your Next Steps
Recognizing mast cell activation syndrome symptoms are the first step in getting the treatment you need. Reach out to your trusted medical professional to confirm diagnosis.
Unfortunately, there is no cure, but there are treatments. You can try antihistamine medications. dietary changes, anti-stress meditation, or even acupuncture.
There is an acupuncture treatment that can possibly make a big difference for those suffering from MCAS. It involves inserting a tiny acupuncture needle into the ear that can help manage the overproduction of mediator chemicals in the body.
Are you ready to try it out or have an questions about acupuncture for mast cell activation syndrome? We’ve got the answers — reach out to us today.
Meet Our Expert: Deborah Farley
Founder of Acupuncture Works,LLC in Lynchburg Virginia. Deborah is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Medicine as a Licensed Acupuncturist (L. Ac.).
She is also licensed by the State of Florida as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM). Deborah is a Diplomate of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
She graduated from the East West College of Natural Medicine with a Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine and a Bachelor’s Degree of Professional Health Sciences.