20 October 2022 marks the 5th International Mastocytosis & Mast Cell Diseases Awareness Day.
On 20 October over 150 landmarks and venues across Australia and New Zealand will light up purple to raise awareness of Mastocytosis and Mast Cell Diseases – a broad family of rare diseases that can be life-threatening and are very often severely debilitating.
The Australasian Mastocytosis Society’s (TAMS) #SpotOurSpots campaign aims to increase awareness of mast cell disease and build hope for mast cell disease sufferers all over Australia and New Zealand. Increasing awareness and understanding of, and support for our mast cell diseases community is essential. TAMS hopes this will help lead to greater investment in research for more accurate diagnostics and better treatments.
Mast Cell Diseases describe a group of disorders that are caused by the presence of too many overactive mast cells in the body including Mastocytosis, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) and Hereditary Alpha Tryptasemia (HaT). Mast cells are integral to our immune systems. Ordinarily, they are responsible for things like wound healing and aid in protection from diseases, viruses and everyday allergens.
However, in the case of mast cell disease, their increased population and degranulation (as explained above) results in tremendous suffering and disability due to symptoms from daily mast cell release and/or symptoms arising from infiltration and accumulation of mast cells in our major organ systems. Symptoms can include rash, severe flushing, swelling, airway obstructions, migraines, cognitive disorientation, musculoskeletal pain, hypotension, gastrointestinal problems and syncope (fainting), to life-threatening episodes of anaphylaxis.