“I’m allergic to exercise.”
We’ve all said it (or at least, I certainly have) as an excuse for not working out. And in a way, exercise can lead to some allergylike symptoms: sweating, difficulty breathing, fatigue, nausea…it’s unfun, to say the least, when you have to work out and it’s not something you genuinely want to do. However, 33-year-old Kasia Beaver has got you beat: she has a legitimate exercise allergy.
Beaver, of Redditch, Worcestershire, has a condition is known as Exercise-Induced Angioedema (EIA) and it causes her to get extremely ill when she increases her heart rate. Rather than simply glistening terribly and being afraid to run into people she knows, Beaver’s face can swell up if she exerts too much energy and she could go into potentially-deadly anaphylactic shock.
“When I get an attack, my eyes swell up and start to itch. Within five minutes, they’re completely closed. It’s terrifying, especially if I’m alone with the children.
“I was ice skating with my husband when I had a really bad attack. I had to use an epiPen to bring the swelling down.
“People don’t believe me when I tell them I’m allergic to exercise. They think it’s just an excuse to be lazy. But the truth is, I used to go the gym all the time. I was really sporty. I was a size ten.”
The first time it happened, she was in her early 20s. She thought her eyes swelling up was a reaction to some eyeshadow, but when it wouldn’t go away for days and occurred again at her next gym visit, she realized something was wrong. But it wasn’t until after she became pregnant and had her child, then attempted to lose the baby weight, that she realized exercise was triggering her allergic reactions.
Eventually, she was diagnosed with EIA, greatly relieved to have finally found a name for her condition. EIA is triggered by “exercising after eating certain foods, as well as an underactive thyroid that is linked to the condition.” Despite her condition being extremely rare (and treatment therefore being rather experimental in nature) and the doctors not knowing what ingredients in foods were really causing her reactions, she eventually found an antihistamine that worked effectively for her and is now much, much happier.
Though this story had a happy ending, I think one of the saddest things about this — besides the obvious, terrible nature of her condition — is how others see her. This is a perfect example of not knowing the whole story regarding a person’s weight and condition, thus making it impossible to assume whether or not she is supposedly “lazy” or the maker of “poor choices.” It’s unfair and ridiculous to assume you understand a person’s health simply by looking at them, so next time you catch yourself or somebody else making such judgments, take a step back and remember there actually are people with serious issues like this one, and you never know who has what.