For some patients, allergic skin reactions may be the result of mastocytosis, a condition caused by excessive mast cells in connective tissues. Patients in Oregon and Washington can turn to Silver Falls Dermatology to learn more about this condition and find treatment solutions.
What is Mastocytosis?
Mastocytosis is a condition in which the body produces excessive mast cells. This is a type of white blood cell found in connective tissues throughout the body, allowing the immune system to function properly. Excessive mast cells within the skin increase allergic-type reactions such as inflammation, itchiness or hives. This is often triggered by alcohol, spicy foods, exercise, medication or irritation to the skin. There are several types of mastocytosis. The type that is more likely to be treated by a dermatologic provider is indolent systemic mastocytosis, which causes skin symptoms but few other issues such as organ dysfunction.
What Causes Mastocytosis?
Mastocytosis is caused by a mutation in the KIT gene, which is not inherited. This means that the disease does not run in families.
Treatment for Mastocytosis
Mastocytosis must first be diagnosed through blood or urine tests, skin biopsies, genetic testing or other methods. Your provider can then help you identify triggers for your symptoms and make recommendations for how to best avoid them.
Medications are available that can relieve mastocytosis symptoms. These include antihistamines to control allergic immune response, corticosteroids to reduce inflammation or drugs to inhibit the KIT gene, which reduces mast cell production.