What Are Mast Cells? Defining Mast Cells
What are mast cells?
Mast cells are a type of immune cell that play a crucial role in allergic reactions.
What do mast cells do?
Mast cells release histamine and other chemicals in response to an allergen, causing symptoms such as itching, swelling, and redness.
How do mast cells cause allergies?
When an allergen triggers a mast cell, it releases histamine and other chemicals into the surrounding tissue, causing inflammation and allergic symptoms.
What is anaphylaxis, and how are mast cells involved?
Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, and shock. Mast cells play a key role in triggering anaphylaxis by releasing large amounts of histamine and other chemicals.
How is mast cell activation syndrome treated?
Treatment for mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) involves avoiding triggers, taking medications such as antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers, and addressing any underlying conditions that may be contributing to the disorder.
What are some common triggers for mast cell activation in allergic reactions?
A variety of substances can trigger mast cell activation in allergic reactions, including pollen, animal dander, certain foods, insect venom, and medications.
How is a diagnosis of a mast cell disorder typically made?
A diagnosis of a mast cell disorder is typically made through a combination of symptom evaluation, blood, and urine tests to detect high levels of certain chemicals, and a bone marrow biopsy to look for abnormal mast cells.