Mast Cell Disorder

Mast Cell Disorder

Mast cells are the immune cells responsible for protecting us from germs and parasites. These cells can become defective and release histamine that can, in turn, cause debilitating symptoms.

This is called mast cell disorder. Symptoms include poor concentration, fatigue, abdominal bloating and/or pain, rash, hives, swelling, flushing, food intolerance, rapid pulse, low blood pressure, fainting, breathing issues, or allergic reactions.  Patients with mast cell disorder often suffer for years before finding the right doctor who can help them. At Allergy & Immunology Center we provide the most up-to-date diagnostic modalities and treatments for mast cell disorder.

A woman sitting on a bed with her stomach hurting.

Asthma does not always present as wheezing or difficulty breathing. Recurrent or chronic cough or bronchitis may be symptoms of undiagnosed asthma.

A woman is holding an asthma inhaler.

Your Asthma Questions, Answered

What causes asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways become hypersensitive and/or inflamed. When you have an asthma attack, three things happen that narrow your airways and make it hard to breathe:

  • Small airways become swollen
  • Muscles lining the airways tighten
  • Extra mucus is produced that further clogs the airways

Once you develop asthma, your airways remain inflamed, which makes you more susceptible to future asthma attacks.

What triggers an asthma attack?

Although each patient has their own group of asthma triggers, some of the most common include:

  • Hay fever (allergies)
  • Cold air
  • Tobacco 
  • Air pollution and smoke
  • Certain odors and chemical fumes
  • Stress and strong emotions
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • A weak immune system

Physical activity is another common trigger. Nearly 90% of all patients with asthma experience exercise-induced bronchospasm. Dr. Shilian and the team can help you stay active with proper treatment.

What is allergic asthma?

Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma. You have allergic asthma when your asthma is triggered by environmental allergies (hay fever).

What symptoms will I develop due to asthma?

The symptoms of asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing

When your cough is due to asthma, you will not get adequate relief from an over-the-counter cough medicine.

If you have cough-variant asthma, the only symptom you’ll develop is a dry, chronic cough. This type of asthma, which is more common in children, is often triggered by allergies.

How is asthma treated?

Following a comprehensive review of your medical history and a physical exam, Dr. Shilian determines whether you have asthma by performing lung function tests in the office.

When allergic asthma is suspected, Dr. Shilian also determines your specific allergens with allergy testing. Immunotherapy, to treat your allergies, may also help improve your asthma.

When you have asthma, it’s important to identify your triggers so that you can avoid them as much as possible. Medical treatments for asthma include:

Quick-relief medication

Quick-relief medications are delivered via an inhaler or by using a device called a nebulizer, which converts your medication into a fine mist that you can inhale. This treatment is used to quickly open your airways during an asthma attack.

Long-term asthma control medications

Dr. Shilian may prescribe daily medications to reduce inflammation in your airways, keep your asthma under control, and prevent future flare-ups.

In patients whose asthma symptoms are not well controlled with daily medications, the Allergy & Immunology Center will use FDA-approved, non-steroidal injections to help improve lung function and prevent severe asthma attacks.

If you experience difficulty breathing or develop wheezing or cough, call the Allergy & Immunology Center or request an appointment online today.