While students and adults alike have joked about being allergic to gym class or working out at the gym, an allergic reaction to exercise is a rare, but serious health problem that has been gaining attention following news stories about Kasia Beaver, a British mother of four who has spoken out about the condition, known as Exercise-Induced Angioedema, or EIA.
Exercise-induced anaphylaxis is a multi-systemic allergic reaction, which means that the reactions the body produces affect the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal or other vital body systems. It is often seen when exercise occurs after eating food that the body is allergic to, but occasionally appears as the result of exercise alone. It is important to note that the condition is rare, but also completely independent of the much more commonly diagnosed exercise-induced asthma.
Symptoms of exercise-induced anaphylaxis include:
- Tingling sensation
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Asthma symptoms
- Swelling of the mouth or throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Sudden drop in blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness or feeling faint
It is important to note that the condition is rare, but also completely independent of the much more commonly diagnosed exercise-induced asthma. A similar condition, known as cholinergic urticarial, is triggered by exercise and includes many of the same symptoms, however does not lead to anaphylaxis. Current estimates by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology show that at most 30 cases of anaphylaxis per 300 million people are reported each year.
If you notice the symptoms of EIA, speak with your provider at Atlanta ENT to rule out more common, and easy to treat, allergies first.
Ramie A. Tritt, MD, President of Atlanta ENT