What is Mast Cell Activation Disorder

Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD) or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), is a condition where mast cells are hyperactive, resulting in a range of chronic symptoms that can end up being debilitating. Basically, your body acts like it’s having an allergic reaction (varying in severity and length) most of the time.

When your body senses a threat, your mast cells secrete chemicals such as histamine, that aim to protect your body. But with MCAD, your body is perceiving too many things as a threat, and your body’s allergic response goes into overdrive.

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MCAD is a new diagnosis, only being titled for the first time in 2007. For reasons unknown, MCAD is often found in those who have Ehlers-Danlos and POTS.

Symptoms of this disease are incredibly broad and can reek havoc on multiple organ systems. For us, MCAD came in the form of shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, rashes, itching all over, puffy eyes, congestion, and an increase in general POTS symptoms. We are still learning and dealing with what foods provoke us and what seems to keep the negative effects at bay. It’s safe to say that this has  definitely been a learning process, and setbacks unfortunately are unavoidable (as the ‘guess and check’ method is all we can really do). But, as time goes on, we are getting better at spotting when something triggers a negative reaction, and narrowing down our list of triggers.