mast cell activation disease

MCAD: What an activated mast cell looks like

Somebody was like, “Let’s get a mast cell — a type of white blood cell — from a bone marrow biopsy, magnify it 1,000 times, piss it off, and see what happens.”

The result? Ka-boom! It looks like a little firework went off when it released its histamine, tryptase, serotonin, superoxide, heparin, thromboxane, PGD2, PAF, and other granules.

That’s pretty much what it feels like, lol. I used to tell doctors that it felt like I had been drugged, and indeed, I was.

(Image from this nih.org research paper.)

Extra fatigue can cause a histamine release (MCAS/MCAD)

Presumably as a result of the MCAS I always feel sick (groggy with flu-like symptoms) when I don’t get enough rest, and I just read this comment from a nurse on the Mastocytosis Society page on Facebook: “Extra fatigue can cause a histamine release.” That seems to confirm what I have been feeling.

Why am I always sick? (or, “Why are you always sick?”)

“Why am I always sick?” That’s a question I used to ask myself a lot. Other people asked it as well: “Al, why are you always sick?”

I remember one time I was in the same room as my wife while she was on the phone. She was taking to her sister, who was talking about her husband (my brother-in-law), and their conversation went on for quite some time. Afterwards I said, “Wow, I hope you guys don’t talk about me all the time like that.” My wife said, “No, we just say that you seem to get sick a lot.”

Cured meats bad for asthma

Writing as someone who likely has Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) and who has also looked into histamine intolerance, it was surprising to see the headlines in this image being “news” in 2016. MCAS was officially designated as a disease in 2007, and for anyone who knows about it, there’s nothing new about this. Cured foods are well known to be a trigger for people with mast cell issues, meaning that eating cured foods is known to trigger mast cells to release histamine (i.e., to degranulate).

Mast cell activation disease vs histamine intolerance (differences)

Table of Contents1 - Mast cell activation disease: triggers, symptoms2 - Histamine intolerance3 - Mast cell activation disease vs histamine intolerance4 - More notes5 - References6 - Summary

I’m pretty new to learning that I probably have Mast Cell Activation Disease (MCAD) — also known as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) — and as I’m learning more about it, I’ve been wondering, “What is the difference between MCAS/MCAD and histamine intolerance?” In this article I’ll share what I’ve learned so far.

(Note: I take a little time to explain mast cell activation disease in this article. If you just want a quick overview, see the Summary section below.)

Most doctors don’t know what mast cell activation disease is

As I’ve learned in the last two months, most doctors don’t know what mastocytosis or mast cell activation disease is.

I learned that the hard way, with over fifteen ER visits in the last three years, and having seen not only my primary care physician (“I wouldn’t know what to test for”), two endocrinologists, an allergist, a hematologist, three gastrointestinal specialists (one with a focus on the liver), and others I can’t remember, in addition to all of the ER doctors.