LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Despite a passion for fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, Andrew Jagim battled Crohn's disease and Colitis for five years and 12 surgeries.
The sports nutritionist and exercise physiologist shared his story online to educate people and spread awareness that autoimmune diseases can attack anyone.
"Your life isn't over when you're diagnosed with this. It might not be easy but you can get through it and you can get to a point where you have a good quality of life," Mayo Clinic Health System sports medicine research director Jagim said, "I've worked so hard to get to this point in my life and my career. I'm not going to let a disease side track that."
After he found little-to-no research on how Crohn's impacts athletic people, he performed a case study on himself and found that with proper medical care, exercise and nutrition he could maintain his health.jfmk-05-00077
He tracks his physical health and then targets weaker areas with specific workouts to help increase lean muscle in a process that's akin to training an athlete.
"Helping someone get stronger whether they're training for football," Jagim said. "Some of those same concepts could help someone get stronger as they're recovering from cancer treatment or color-rectum surgery like I've had."
Jagim said his next goal is to work with the gastroenterology department and pair appropriate workouts with intense Crohn's disease surgeries.