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What is mastocytosis disease?

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Quick Answer

Mastocytosis is a disease caused by the overproduction of mast cells, which are cells made by bone marrow that aid in fighting off infections and protecting the body from foreign substances, explains the American Academy of Family Physicians. Too many mast cells produce too much histamine, resulting in allergic reactions.

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What is mastocytosis disease?
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Full Answer

Too many mast cells and an overproduction of histamine can cause not only dangerously severe allergic reactions but can also result in itching, cramps, rapid heartbeat and loss of consciousness, according to Mayo Clinic. These symptoms can arise due to certain foods, alcohol consumption and temperature changes. There are seven different types of mastocytosis, varying in their progression.

People with mastocytosis can develop freckle-like spots on their skin due to mast-cell buildup, states the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Although they appear to be harmless, they can itch and turn into hives. Other symptoms include anaphylaxis, low blood pressure, nausea, musculoskeletal pain and headache. Individuals can manage the disease by avoiding those factors that trigger flare-ups, such as spicy food or rapid temperature changes. Certain medications can help to manage symptoms, along with epinephrine shots for emergencies. Individuals with severe mastocytosis can undergo chemotherapy to stop the buildup of mast cells.

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