How may mastocytosis be confused with autonomic dysfunction?
Mastocytosis, or abnormal proliferation of tissue mast cells, may be confused with autonomic dysfunction because of symptoms of flushing, palpitation, dyspnea, chest discomfort, headache, lightheadedness and dizziness, fall in blood pressure, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, which occur episodically.
Some patients may have an elevation of blood pressure. Each attack is followed by profound lethargy and fatigue.
Episodes may be brief, lasting several minutes, or protracted, lasting 2 to 3 hours.
Exposure to heat or emotional or physical stress may precipitate an attack.
Flushing and warm sensations are the most important clues differentiating this syndrome from syndromes of orthostatic intolerance.