What is MCAS?

Mast cells are a type of blood cell that play a vital role in the body’s immune system. Located in every organ and connective tissue, they react to foreign bodies and are designed to release a variety of potent chemical mediators, such as histamine, when activated. In a healthy person, mast cells help the body fight against disease and infection, but in a person that has Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), these cells are over-reactive and attack the body.

Those suffering from MCAS experience different auto-inflammatory processes or autoimmune illnesses that affect the body in various ways. While the symptoms of MCAS vary, some of the most common side effects include abdominal pain, anaphylaxis, nausea, panic attacks, chronic fatigue and food intolerances. Because the symptoms of MCAS often mirror other ailments, medical professionals have a hard time diagnosing this disease. In fact, studies show that as many as one in every six to seven individuals, or 14-17% of the population, is affected by this disease.

MCAS is just one of the many co-infections often associated with Lyme Disease, and has the potential to impact every system in the body. Often triggered by infections, allergens, environmental factors, exercise and even emotional stress, MCAS can cause rashes, lip swelling, digestive issues, heart palpitations, as well as a plethora of other symptoms.

While the medical community has yet to fully understand the complexities associated with MCAS, several individuals have taken it upon themselves to research the disease or advocate for those living with it. Please see the information below to learn more.

  • Recent publications and Presentations by Theoharis C. Theoharides, Ph.D, M.D.
  • Never Bet Against Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and the Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity by Lawrence B. Afrin M.D.
  • Recent blogs and articles written by Lonnie Marcum for LymeSci LymeDisease.Org
  • Recent blogs and YouTube series written by Savannah Marcum