A British gymnast became a victim of a rare disorder which made her allergic to almost everything. In 2012, she felt a weird sensation on her lips for the first time. Months later, she became unconscious because of a severe anaphylactic reaction.
Later, the gymnast named Natasha Coates was diagnosed with a condition which made her allergic to her own tears, hair and even exercise. This disturbing condition is known as mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). The 22-year-old Natasha has described her bumpy journey in a video, published by Barcroft TV.
MCAS is an immunological condition where mast cells or type of white blood cells inappropriately and excessively release chemical mediators and trigger chronic symptoms. According to Dr. Tania Dempsey, a specialist of MCAS, this is considered an extremely rare disorder.
Some people with this illness do not recognize the symptoms but in Natasha's case, the reaction became so severe that she was taken to a hospital. When she grows hair, she feels a burning sensation. Even her tears cause rashes on her face.
"It's absolute agony. I just have to make the bald girl look work, really. I don't have much choice," Natasha told Newsweek.
While talking about Natasha's condition and her allergy, Dr Dempsey said, "Anything that perpetuates the release of chemicals in her body could lead to a path that's deadly."
In an addition to that, she said while there is no research in the field of MCAS yet, "I would go so far as to say there's something in our environment that some patients are reacting to more severe and that's where genetics probably plays a role."
In terms of MCAS treatment, while "Some patients do well with antihistamines, some of them even require chemotherapy," said Dr Dempsey.
Here are some possible symptoms of MCAS:
- Burning feeling
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, presyncope, syncope
- Nausea, vomiting
- Swallowing, throat tightness
- Diarrhea, cramping, intestinal discomfort
- Brain fog, short-term memory dysfunction, difficulty with recalling words
- Headaches, migraines
- Congestion, coughing
- Ocular discomfort, conjunctivitis
- Sense of being cold all the time
So, if you find any of the above symptoms, change your body function rapidly, You must go through these pharmacological treatments (after a confirmation from your doctor):
- Mast cell stabilizers, including cromolyn sodium and natural stabilizers such as quercetin.
- H1-antihistamines, such as cetirizine or ketotifen
- H2-antihistamines, such as ranitidine or famotidine
- Antileukotrienes, such as montelukast or zileuton as well as natural products
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin to reduce inflammation in some patients.