Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) The Great Masquerader
There is a lot of talk about "long-haulers" these days, people who have been affected by COVID-19 for weeks or even months after the initial infection. But what about those of us who are dealing with a chronic illness that predates the pandemic? For many of us, this has been a long haul indeed.
One such condition is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). MCAS is a chronic condition characterized by abnormal mast cell activity. Mast cells are a type of white blood cell that play an important role in allergic reactions and the immune response. In people with MCAS, mast cells are overly active, leading to symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, gastrointestinal problems, and headaches. MCAS can be triggered by a variety of things, including infections, stress, and certain medications.
MCAS is often misdiagnosed or dismissed as "psychosomatic" because its symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, like anxiety or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This can make MCAS a very frustrating condition to deal with.
Fortunately, there are treatments available for MCAS. One such treatment is DAO (diamine oxidase) an enzyme that breaks down histamine, which can help to reduce the activity of mast cells and alleviate symptoms. With proper diagnosis and treatment, people with MCAS can lead normal, healthy lives.
Elevated levels of histamine can cause MCAS symptoms.
There are a variety of supplements and medications that can help people with MCAS. If the steps outlined here are not sufficient to get your symptoms under control, consult with your physician about medications that can help with MCAS.
However, one of the first steps is a low histamine diet.