Meet Ingrid who has recently taken up a new hobby, going to the gym. Here Ingrid hopes to inspire others to get exercising this New Year while also reminding us of the importance of managing your Addison’s too. 

Meet Ingrid

My name is Ingrid and I will be 80 in May 2024. In 2013 I was diagnosed with Cushing's syndrome which was caused by a tumour on an adrenal gland. That year I had an operation to remove one of my adrenal glands – and the condition I now have is known as Addison's disease.

The initial effects of living with Addison's were pretty nasty. I would say it took three years before I could almost forget I had Addison's – as long as I take my medication regularly. I had several incidents of ‘adrenal crisis’ brought on by a variety of circumstances and was taken to A&E. At the beginning I did not know why this was happening – in other words, I was not made aware that Addison's can cause an adrenal crisis. Almost by chance an ambulance nurse, who was visiting my daughter, explained the crisis situation and that I should get an emergency injection kit. Indeed, on one occasion the ambulance crew had not heard of Addison's and were unsure what to do. I told them I had an injection kit and they were extremely attentive and caring – as they always are.

Joining the gym

I’m delighted to say that I now lead a normal and active life – with, dare I say, fewer crises. In fact, a year ago I joined a gym - much to my family’s doubt and amusement! This gym is more like a club and each session with a maximum 12 people of mixed abilities and ages. There are one or two coaches who instruct and ensure you are doing the exercises correctly so that you get the most benefit. 

I am one of the oldest in the class I go to but that doesn’t bother me or anyone else, even if I am a couple of beats behind the rest! Since joining I am definitely much stronger, my posture has improved and I have more energy throughout the day. I am also able to cope with colds and minor ailments so much better. I double-dose my medication for the sessions.

I should add that because I am steroid dependent I had a bone density scan and was told I have osteopenia – and another advantage from going to the gym is that weight-bearing exercise is very beneficial to help strengthen muscles and support bones.

The management of the gym requested that I leave an emergency injection kit with them so that they have access to it – just in case. Naturally, they also have contact details. 

"I also have an emergency kit at my stable yard (my horse thinks it's food!) I hope to emphasise the importance of exercise and carrying an emergency injection kit."

Addison's Admin

How do you carry your injection kit?

I carry an injection kit in my bag and have one in the glove box of my car and my daughter who lives close by has a kit too.

I also have an emergency kit at my stable yard (my horse thinks it's food!) The needles/syringes and container I get from ADSHG and I order the hydrocortisone vials from my local clinic. 

What type of medical alert identification do you have?

I also wear an ‘Adrenal Insufficiency’ bracelet and carry a steroid emergency card within my mobile phone.

Thank you Ingrid for sharing your experience of exercising with Addison’s. Your passion for exercise and keeping fit is truly inspiring.

Author: Ingrid

This article was first published in the Winter 2023/24 edition of the ADSHG magazine.

The Doctor's View

If you're feeling inspired by Ingrid and looking for advice on exercising when you have Addison's or adrenal insufficiency, Dr Rob Matthews shares his advice on our blog.

Read our blog post: "How to stay on top of exercise" 

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