Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Can’t Stop This Gymnast

Natasha Coates has a lot more to be cautious of than most people. Anything she eats or drinks could be lethal. She’s even allergic to her own hair and tears as a result of her mast cell activation syndrome. Keep reading to learn more about Natasha’s story, or follow along at the original source here.

Mast cells are a type of immune cell. They fill many role sin the immune system, but their most important task is to protect the body from infection. Mast cell activation syndrome prevents mast cells from working as intended. Affected mast cells may produce histamines at an increased rate when fighting off infection. Mast cell activation syndrome may even cause the cells to respond when there is no infection. These spontaneous reactions can do massive harm to a person.

Coates, a 22-year-old gymnast from Nottingham, England, explained her condition on Barcroft TV. As she describes it, mast cell activation syndrome can sometimes trigger something simple. Sometimes she just doesn’t feel well. Other times the disease causes her throat and tongue to swell. Growing her hair out causes painful blisters, and her face breaks out in a rash if she cries.

2012 marked the first year Coates noticed something was amiss.

She began having allergic responses to fruits. Eating apples and strawberries caused the skin of her mouth to blister. Doctor’s diagnosed her with oral allergy syndrome. After that she had a serious anaphylactic reaction and became hospitalized. Years of intense allergic reactions later Natasha Coates finally received a diagnosis of mast cell activation syndrome.

Mast cell activation syndrome can be triggered by anything.

It’s difficult to predict exactly what will trigger a reaction, says Coates. Sometimes her body will accept something. Her next exposure to the same stimulus may cause a serious and horrifying episode. She’s unable to do many things that her peers take for granted. Drinking alcohol, for example, is strictly impossible for Coates. She restricts her diet to foods that haven’t yet caused allergic responses. Her mother cleans the house frequently to prevent exposure to new allergens.

Despite all this, mast cell activation syndrome hasn’t been able to keep Coates away from gymnastics.

Coates started training when she was only eight. Her condition made it so that she was unable to train and compete in standard gymnastics. Coates switched to disability gymnastics. It still isn’t easy. Mast cell activation syndrome causes loss of feeling in her body. When she practices she often experiences loss of sensation from her elbows to her knees.

Coates says that persistence and stubbornness has made her progress possible. In 2015 she was named Disabled Sportsperson of the year. She ranks as the number one disability gymnast in the UK.

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