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Friday, September 9, 2016

Stress Trigger for Mast Cell Disorder


As I await my tryptase blood test results, I have plenty of proof that my body’s mast cells are out-of-control.  Last week, the doctor ordered this test, because he suspected that I have systemic mastocytosis.  This disorder is hard to explain, so I’m sharing a wonderful description:
“Systemic mastocytosis (mas-to-sy-TOE-sis) is a disorder caused by a genetic mutation that results in an excessive number of mast cells in your body. Mast cells normally help protect you from disease and aid in wound healing by releasing substances such as histamine and leukotrienes. But if you have systemic mastocytosis, excess mast cells can build up in your skin, around blood vessels, in your respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, or in reproductive organs. When triggered, these mast cells release substances that can overwhelm your body and result in symptoms such as facial flushing, itching, a rapid heartbeat, abdominal cramps, lightheadedness or even loss of consciousness. Common triggers include alcohol, temperature changes, spicy foods and certain medications.”   Mayo Clinic

Yesterday and into the evening, I felt so much stress.  In my experience, I’ve had stress-related anaphylaxis (it didn’t matter if it was bad stress or happy stress).  I was very fearful that I would need my epi-pen, because of all the hives and itching.  I had all the symptoms and still feel bad this morning.  There are many triggers for different people: preservatives, stress, mold or other allergens, alcohol, sunlight, and heat or cold.  I respond terribly to all of these ( except alcohol, because I don’t drink).
Fearing a mast cell attack (my own description), that could send me into anaphylaxis is overwhelming.  It’s a fear I live with, but don’t face daily.  But, when I’m itching over most of my body, I’m fearful.  No one wants to get to the point of using an epi-pen.  I always wait until I’m starting to black out.  (If I’m alone, I use it a little sooner).
I’ll soon find out if I suffer from Systemic Mastocytosis.  The treatment is higher doses of the medicines I’m already taking.  If I need higher doses, I certainly hope this will prevent the constant itching and the misery it brings.
@2016, copyright Lisa Ehrman
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert, and this is only my opinion.  If you need medical help, please consult your personal physician.


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