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Symptoms

Mastocytosis causes a wide range of symptoms, which can vary depending on the type of mastocytosis you have.

Cutaneous mastocytosis

Skin lesions are a characteristic of cutaneous mastocytosis. Types of lesions known to occur in cutaneous mastocytosis include:

Lesions usually develop on the trunk rather than the head, neck and limbs.

The lesions, known as urticaria pigmentosa, are usually yellow-tan to reddish-brown in colour, and can range from 1mm to several centimetres in size.

The number of lesions that develop on the skin can vary widely. For example, it's possible for only a single lesion to develop, or more than 1,000.

Stroking the affected areas of skin can make it swollen, itchy and red over the lesion.

Systemic mastocytosis

If you have systemic mastocytosis, you may develop sudden episodes of symptoms that last for around 15-30 minutes. However, many people do not have any problems.

The most common symptoms experienced during an episode are:

Less common symptoms during an episode include:

Once the episode has passed you'll probably feel sluggish for several hours.

The episodes are caused by the mast cells suddenly releasing excessive amounts of histamine, usually after you're exposed to certain triggers.

Triggers known to cause episodes include:

Abnormal mast cells in your bone marrow and organs can also cause related symptoms, including:

In more severe cases of mastocytosis, the following symptoms may occur:

Low blood pressure (hypotension)

Some people with severe symptoms experience a sudden fall in blood pressure during an attack. 

Low blood pressure (hypotension) can trigger a number of associated symptoms, such as:

Severe allergic reaction

If you have systemic mastocytosis or extensive cutaneous mastocytosis, your risk of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is increased.

It's important to look out for the initial symptoms of anaphylaxis, which include:

Dial 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance if you think you or someone else is experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis.