Imagine being able to claim that you’re allergic to exercise? Wouldn’t that be fun? After all, an actual medical reaction from too much cardio would be the perfect excuse for never getting our butts to the gym!
Sadly, our dream situation is actually Kasia Beaver’s nightmare. The 33-year-old mom of four who lives in the UK, is actually allergic to exercise. Really, super allergic.
Kasia’s condition, called exercise-induced angioedema, or EIA, is very rare, and can be fatal. Basically, if her heart beats too fast and she sweats, she breaks out in hives and her throat closes up. “It’s terrifying, especially if I’m alone with the children,” she told Good Morning America.
So what does parenthood without a game of chase or running beside your child while they learn to ride a bike look like? To be honest, we’d take spin class over giving up those experiences any day of the week. Unfortunately, for Kasia, those normal mom-kid activities have just not been an option.
Because EIA is a relatively rare condition, it often goes undiagnosed, the American Academy of Family Physicians. This was definitely the case for Kasia, who had her first reaction in her early 20s before she was even pregnant with her child, now 12 years old.
At first, she thought her swollen eyes were a reaction to a new eye shadow, so she stopped using it, but her condition didn’t change. After that, Kasia continued doing her normal gym routine, however one day she was rushed to the hospital because her eyes were so bad. They gave her some antihistamines that helped, but didn’t solve the issue.
After bouncing around to medical specialists, one finally diagnosed her with EIA. “It took me years to realize that exercise was the trigger,” said Kasia. “It was a relief in a way because I could put a name to it. I wasn’t going mad. I’d been tested for all sorts over the years. I thought it could be hay fever, a blocked tear duct or sweat gland,” Kasia said.
Since doctors have identified the allergy, Kasia has been placed on ketotifen, an antihistamine that seems to be working — at least well enough so that she can walk to the park but not enough to work out.
“People don’t believe me when I tell them I’m allergic to exercise,” she said. “They think it’s just an excuse to be lazy.”