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UK Women Diagnosed with Exercise Allergy

Update Date: Mar 25, 2013 09:37 AM EDT
Kasia Beaver
Beaver's eyes swell, throat closes, and skin starts to break out in hives whenever she exercises. (Photo : CATERS NEWS AGENCY)

A 33-year-old woman from the United Kingdom has the perfect excuse to avoid exercise. She is allergic. Although this medical diagnosis sounds surreal, for Kasia Beaver, it is a difficult and undesirable condition that she is forced to live with. When Beaver exercises and her heart rate increases, her skin starts to break out in hives, her eyes swell up and her throat closes up. These side effects of exercise have kept Beaver fearful of what might happen to her unexpectedly.

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"It's terrifying, especially if I'm alone with the children," she told ABC News. "People don't believe me when I tell them I'm allergic to exercise. They think it's just an excuse to be lazy."

According to her doctors, however, Beaver's condition is extremely rare and completely legitimate. Beaver's first allergy attack occurred in her early 20s after her first child when her eyes swelled up for three days. She originally thought that she was allergic to her eye shadow, but the swelling never went down after she discontinued her usage. It was not until Beaver's mother brought her to the hospital after her face swelled up from exercise once again. After several doctors and medical visits, a specialist discovered that exercise was the trigger and diagnosed her with EIA, exercise-induces angioedema. This condition made it difficult for Beaver to perform simple aerobic chores and events with her children, and now, after the diagnosis, she can take medicine to keep her allergies at bay.

"It was a relief in a way because I could put a name to it. I wasn't going made. I'd been tested for all sorts over the years. I thought it could be hay fever, a blocked tear duct or sweat gland."

Doctors have confirmed that EIA works like any other allergy. When Beaver exercises, it triggers her body's immune system into thinking there is something threatening in the body and thus, it produces antibodies to fight it. These cells cause the body to suffer from an allergic attack.

Beaver is currently taking ketotifen, which is an antihistamine that helps control her allergic reactions. She can now take a nice leisurely walk but still cannot do aerobic activities without worrying about an allergic attack.

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