How Manual lymphatic drainage may help you to relieve symptoms of Mast Cell Activation syndrome
Since Covid-19 started, many of us heard a lot about immunity and the importance of our immune system. In this blog, we are going to focus on our immune system and how it responds to any threat. In addition, we are going to talk about the importance of the mast cell as part of your immune system; their relation with the lymphatic system (another important character when we talk about the defence of our body); and what Mast cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) is.
Mast cells are a very important part of our immune system. They play an important role when reacting against a threat. Sometimes we have immune deficiencies issues with no apparent reason causing us health problems. In some cases, the problem is our cells and not the entire system. Recent studies have shown that Mast Cells Activation syndrome could be the cause of your immune failure. Also, this condition is more common than we expected. However, in some cases it takes years to be diagnosed.
Let´s start with the basis!
What are Mast Cells (MCs)?
Mast cells are a type of white blood cells. They are important for the immune system, playing an important role in how it responds to certain Threats (bacteria and parasites). Also, mast cells help control other types of immune responses. Learn more about the importance of white blood cells and therapies for those with low WBC.
They are born in the bone marrow and mature under the influence of growth factors provided by the microenvironment of the tissue where they are destined to reside. You can find them in the mucosal and connective tissues all through your body, especially under your skin, near blood and lymph vessels, nerves, also, in lungs and intestines.
What are the roles of MCs?
Mast cells play important roles in the maintenance of many physiological functions as well as in the pathophysiology (changes in the way your body works that results from disease) of diseases.
People recognise Mast Cells for their pathologic role in allergy – for example, they make you sneeze to get rid of the thing you are allergic to.- Recently it has been shown that they have key roles in the initiation of adaptive immune responses. MCs relieve particles called mediators which are responsible for the first immune response when your body is exposed to a treat. For example, when you’re exposed to stress, danger, infections or allergic reactions, your mast cells respond by releasing these mediators; they cause inflammation, which helps your body to heal from an injury or infection. These key features make mast cells uniquely situated to act as sentinels of immunity, releasing the very earliest alarm signals when a pathogen is present.
The most common sites in the body exposed to antigens are:
- The mucosa of the respiratory tract (airborne).
- Gastrointestinal tract (food borne).
- Blood (wounds, absorption from respiratory tract/gastrointestinal tract).
- Connective tissues.
In addition, mast cells are involved in the regulation of different physiological functions, for example:
- Parasite elimination
In addition, mast cells play a significant role in the regulation of bone growth and remodeling, also, in bronchial, vascular and mineral homeostasis (state of balance between all the systems in your body. Your body needs this balance to survive and function properly).
What is the relationship between mast cells and the lymphatic system?
Studies have shown that mast cells enhance the number of naive lymphocytes (immune system cells) in infection site-draining lymph nodes, and to encourage the migration of dendritic cells (cells that generate specific immune responses) to responding lymph nodes. In other words, mast cells encourage the role and response of other immune cells. In addition, the particles released by MCs can elicit lymph node enlargement, an infection-associated phenomenon that favours the development of adaptive immunity, by delivering peripheral TNF (Tumour Necrosis Factor-an important immunomodulator) to draining lymph nodes.
What conditions affect mast cells?
There are two conditions that affect their normal function:
Mastocytosis which is caused by the overproduction of mast cells.
Mast cell activation syndrome. It’s a chronic condition in which your mast cells release mediators too frequently and too often. Some symptoms that you may notice are:
- Itchy or flushed skin, urticaria and sweating.
- Itchy and watering eyes.
- Sneezing, itchy and runny nose.
- Mouth and throat: itching, swelling in your tongue or lips, swelling in your throat that blocks air from getting to your lungs.
- Lungs trouble breathing, wheezing.
- Low blood pressure, rapid heart rate.
- Diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain and cramping.
- Headache, dizziness, confusion, extreme tiredness.
- Extreme cases can present anaphylactic shock which needs immediate attention.
What is the cause?
There are not certain causes, but some studies have shown it could be a genetic condition.
How is MCAS treated?
- Mast cell stabilizers
The symptoms of this condition can be also treated with manual lymphatic drainage. The benefits are impressive. MLD promotes detoxification, relieves pain, increases your energy levels, reduces the length of infection and promotes good immune system health.
A final word
As a conclusion, Mast cells play a key role inside the immune system. First, they are the soldiers in the first fighting line against any treat that affects your body. Second, they also help your lymphatic system to get rid of waste and toxins. Third, MCs encourage the response of other immune cells (lymphocytes and dendritic cells). On the other hand, you can help them by using lymphatic drainage to make this process easier and faster. However, they can be affected by conditions such as Mastocitosys and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. MCAS is a chronic condition, but it can be treated with different medications, depending on your symptoms. In addition, you can use manual lymphatic drainage to reduce symptoms caused by MCAS, also, it will improve your overall well-being.