Anaphylaxis And Mast Cell Disorder Specialist

AIR Care

Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology located in Dallas, TX & Plano, TX

Mast cell disorders can cause hives, difficulty breathing, and even life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Dr. Richard Herrscher is a highly respected allergist and immunologist practicing at his AIR Care offices in Dallas and Plano, Texas. Dr. Herrscher can help determine if your allergy symptoms are related to a mast cell disorder and devise a treatment plan to protect your health and relieve your discomfort. Call today for an appointment or book your visit online.

Anaphylaxis and Mast Cell Disorder Q & A

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that typically involves several body systems at once. It can cause hives, lower your blood pressure, and cause swelling in your mouth and throat that makes it difficult to breathe. In some cases, anaphylaxis may lead to shock that can be fatal without immediate treatment.

Symptoms usually start within a few minutes of contact with an allergen, but it may take more than an hour before you develop signs of anaphylaxis. Warning signals include:

  • An itchy, red skin rash that may or may not include hives
  • Swelling in the throat or other areas of the body
  • Wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting, stomach cramping, diarrhea
  • Paleness or a reddish color to the face and body

What is a mast cell?

Mast cells are a type of blood cell that play a significant role in your body’s immune system. They’re a part of all body tissues and act as an initial defense system against illness and injury. Once activated by your immune system, mast cells release potent chemicals such as histamine that act to protect and heal your body.

What are mast cell disorders?

Mast cell disorders occur in two major forms:

  • Mastocytosis, which causes you to develop an increased number of mast cells within your tissues and an inappropriate release of chemicals such as histamines
  • Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), which does not increase the number of mast cells you have, but it does trigger the inappropriate release of histamines and other chemical substances

Because they exist throughout your body, dysfunctional mast cells can create severe reactions in several body systems at once when they overreact and release more chemicals than your immune system expected or your body needs. This can lead to anaphylaxis.

Mast cell triggers may include typical allergens, such as a variety of foods, but are sometimes fueled by the unexpected, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Certain fragrances
  • Stress

It’s often difficult, however, to identify specific triggers, and patients may discover new triggers years after being diagnosed with a mast cell disorder.

If you or your child are having allergic reactions that don’t seem to respond to standard treatment, or you’re experiencing frequent anaphylactic episodes, a mast cell disorder may be at play. Call AIR Care today to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Herrscher or book your visit online.