When most people say they're allergic to exercise, it just means they hate it. But not for Kasia Beaver. When she says she's allergic to exercise, it's not just an excuse to lounge around eating Cheetos. She really IS allergic to exercise. Who knew?!!! It took years for Kasia to be diagnosed because this condition is so rare, but finally doctors figured out she has something called exercise-induced angioedema, or EIA. Whenever her heart starts beating rapidly and she sweats, she has all of the symptoms of an extreme allergic reaction -- swollen eyes, hives, her throat can even close up.
Kasia had her first attack in her early 20s, right before she became pregnant with her first child. Thinking she was allergic to some new eye shadow, she stopped using it, but her eyes remained swollen for days. Then one day she did a normal workout at the gym, and later when her eyes swelled up, her mother took her to the emergency room. She was prescribed antihistamines but the reactions didn't stop. Another time, after ice skating with her husband, she had an attack so bad that she had to use an epiPen.
Doctor upon doctor thought she had regular allergies, and it wasn't until years later that they finally figured out what was wrong. EIA is so rare that there's no estimate of the amount of people who suffer from it.
Kasia has four children and says the attacks are "terrifying" when she's alone with them. While this condition might sound like a dream for those wanting a good excuse to avoid the gym, it was a nightmare for Kasia, who liked to remain active -- not to mention it could occur even if she just ran after her kids!
Luckily, an antihistamine called ketotifen has helped Kasia greatly and she now can take walks in the park without an attack occurring. She still has to avoid exercise for any length of time, however. She's also joined a weight loss group to shed some pounds, but can't get on the treadmill to take them off.
Might sound enviable to some, but sounds horrific to me. No swimming, or bike riding, iceskating or dancing or even chasing down a stray ball kicked by your kids? No flying yoga??! Poor woman. At least her antihistamine has helped her.
Can you imagine this?
Image via KarinDaziel/Flickr