Mast cell disorders cause allergic-like reactions to common allergens because of abnormal mast cell activity, not an allergy. These disorders are hard to diagnose but are gaining more recognition by health care providers. Chad W. Mayer, DO, FAAAAI, FAAP, and Ronda Barak-Norris, MD, FACAAI, are board-certified allergists specializing in diagnosing and treating mast cell disorders at Allergy & Asthma Institute of Southeast Michigan. Schedule a consultation by calling the office in Farmington Hills, Michigan, or booking online today.
Mast cell disorders include a group of conditions that affect the function of the mast cells. Your mast cells are the allergy cells. If you have allergies, your mast cells are responsible for releasing the chemicals that cause the allergic reaction.
The reaction occurs when the immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody on the surface of the mast cell binds with a protein in the allergen. Certain medications, insects or reptile venom, and infections may also activate the mast cell. These reactions are normal.
With mast cell disorders, the mast cells are defective, releasing the chemicals that cause the allergic reaction because of abnormal signaling within the cell.
Types of mast cell disorders include mastocytosis, mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and hereditary alpha-tryptasemia.
Mastocytosis is a genetic immune disorder. People with mastocytosis have a buildup of mast cells under their skin, in their bones, or in other organs.
MCAS is a condition in which a person has recurring allergy symptoms that are severe and affect multiple body systems. The symptoms occur because the mast cells mistakenly release large amounts of the chemicals that cause the allergic reaction.
People with hereditary alpha-tryptasemia produce extra copies of the alpha tryptase gene. Tryptase is one of the chemicals the mast cells release during an allergic reaction.
Mast cell disorders require special lab tests for a diagnosis. Before ordering any tests, the allergists at Allergy & Asthma Institute of Southeast Michigan conduct a thorough history and physical examination to ensure they order the right tests.
They review your symptoms, medical history, and family history. If not done, they may also do allergy testing.
To diagnose mast cell disorders, they order blood tests to check mast cell tryptase levels and urine tests to measure histamine levels.
Allergy & Asthma Institute of Southeast Michigan creates individual treatment plans for mast cell disorders based on type and severity of symptoms. Treatment usually includes:
The allergists spend time talking to you about your treatment options. Then, together you develop a plan that best suits you.
To find out more about mast cell disorders, call Allergy & Asthma Institute of Southeast Michigan or schedule an appointment online today.