Mast Cells are one of the body’s major lines of defense and the most complex cells in our body.
Mast cells make up one of the first lines of immune defense and protect the body against foreign invasions and chemical toxins as well as the direct effects of hazardous chemicals in the environment. When mast cells are overactive, it can trigger symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, fever, weakness, shortness of breath and chest pain. Some people who have mast cell activation syndrome experience a complete loss of their mast cell function, which can lead to chronic fatigue, anemia and other serious medical conditions.
The most common type of MCAS is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Other symptoms of MCAS include chronic headaches, chronic muscle aches and pains, chronic tiredness and depression. A person with MCAS is also more likely to experience fatigue and problems with memory, concentration, mood and sleep. In fact, MCAS has been linked to a number of serious health problems including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. This condition can also lead to a host of emotional, social and personal problems, causing embarrassment and shame for sufferers.
Symptoms of MCAS can occur at any age. However, this condition tends to occur earlier in women than men. One theory as to why this occurs is that when there are no sufficient hormones in the system, the body may respond by overproducing them.
There are several treatments for MCAS. Some of these treatments include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications. Doctors are unable to identify the exact cause of MCAS, but they do agree that a person with this condition is not necessarily suffering from a life threatening illness, making treatment much easier to administer.
Since MCAS can be caused by several different types of abnormalities in the immune system, doctors try to treat each case of MCAS in a different way. For instance, if doctors feel that an elevated hormone level could be causing the symptoms, they will often prescribe anti-androgens or birth control pills that suppress the production of testosterone.
In most cases, these types of medications work by keeping the prostate gland from producing enough testosterone, thus blocking the production of excess amounts of the hormone in the blood stream.
Another type of treatment is known as hormone replacement therapy. In hormone replacement therapy, doctors inject a synthetic hormones into the blood stream, so that the body is able to produce its own hormones.
Alternative therapy is also available and is based on using foods and herbs. For example, those suffering from MCAS often eat foods that can boost their immunity or use herbs like ginkgo biloba to help reduce fatigue and increase energy levels. These herbs, such as ginseng, can also help to relieve symptoms of MCAS and increase energy levels.
It is important to note that there is no known cure for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. All treatments are meant to help a person recover and live normal, productive lives.
Most doctors recommend that all patients of MCAS try natural remedies first, before resorting to medications. Some people are able to get relief through a combination of natural and prescription medication, while others are better served trying only natural methods. Although some people prefer the latter, some of the side effects of medications, such as loss of sexual desire, can be a cause of concern.
If you suffer from severe symptoms of MCAS, talk to your doctor about trying alternative therapies first and then using prescription medications only when you’re feeling better. Talk to your doctor first and be sure that they are able to treat your symptoms.
If you experience an attack, try not to panic. Although the symptoms may seem unbearable at the time, they should subside in a couple of hours. Even if your symptoms do not go away, you may still be able to manage them if you know how to deal with them.
Try to relax and take time to rest. In addition to dealing with the stress of the attacks, you may want to focus on relaxing your mind. This is important because this is where the attacks are likely to come from and cause the symptoms to worsen.