Do you have widespread pain? Do you also have allergy symptoms like itching, hives, or wheezing? You may have gone a long time thinking pain and allergy symptoms were unrelated, but you could have Mast Cell Activation syndrome (MCAS), a condition that causes both.
If you have never heard of MCAS, that's because MCAS is a condition that is only gaining recognition in the past decade or so. There are many doctors who are not familiar with MCAS. It was once thought to be a rare condition, but current estimates are that it could affect up to 17% of the general population. It's important that such a common condition be understood.
MCAS is hard for doctors to diagnose for a few reasons. The main reason is that it is an under researched condition, despite being likely very prevalent. Furthermore, MCAS has a lot of symptoms that aren't frequently associated with each other. Mainly, pain symptoms and allergy symptoms. In fact, a MCAS diagnosis requires that symptoms occur in two organ systems, for example, the skin (hives), and the gastrointestinal system (stomach pain). The two other most common organ systems affected by MCAS are the cardiovascular system, and the respiratory system. Cardiovascular symptoms include low blood pressure and fainting. Respiratory symptoms include shortness of breath, congestion, sneezing, or wheezing.
MCAS can be a confusing condition due to the vast range of symptoms that a person with MCAS can experience. A person with MCAS could go to a pain doctor and an allergist separately to seek answers for their two different symptoms. They might not bring up their stuffy nose and skin hives with the pain doctor, and they might skip the pain conversation with the allergist. As a result, the pain doctor and allergist might diagnose this patient with something completely different. Without a full picture of a person's overall symptoms, it is tough to diagnose MCAS, which is why it is important for doctors to learn more about this condition.
If you have allergies and pain symptoms, you may have never thought about how these two seemingly unrelated symptoms might be a sign of a single condition. To learn more about a potential MCAS diagnosis, visit the link below and find out about a clinical trial on a medication for MCAS that may ease allergy and pain symptoms.
Filed under: pain management
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