Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Kristina Rihannoff has revealed in today’s Daily Mirror that drinking just two glasses of wine left her fighting for her life having been diagnosed with a kidney infection and severe dehydration.
It turned out that Kristina has a rare intolerance to alcohol, as does her father.
She explained, “I’ve always been aware that whilst friends can drink glass after glass of wine,
“I only need to have two before I start feeling unwell. I get a blinding headache and feel nauseous, so I rarely risk having a third glass…
“If I do, I’ll often vomit and spend the following day with the worst hangover ever.
“So I’m not your stereotypical Russian woman, who is able to drink whatever she likes with no effect!”
She added, “It’s no great surprise to me – my dad is alcohol intolerant to such an extent that he just doesn’t drink at all any more.
“His body is unable to absorb and digest alcohol in the normal way, so it’s like a poison to him.
“He was diagnosed as a young man and I don’t know if it’s an inherited condition, but I wonder if I have the same intolerance.
“I’ve always managed my limitations reasonably well – until last summer, that is.
“I had just finished a two-month tour with the Strictly Come Dancing band, so I was dancing, exercising, sweating, and, with hindsight, not drinking enough water to replace the fluids.
“I then went to a friend’s wedding in France and drank a couple of glasses of wine on each day – not a lot for most people, but for me, over a four-day period, it was the most I’d had in a long time.
“I didn’t feel too bad while I was there, but when I arrived home, I was poorly.
“I went out for a meal then on to see a West End show on my first day back, but I noticed that I was sweating for no reason.
“By the time I got back to my flat, I had the most excruciating pain in my back and my joints were aching. I know my body well and I knew it wasn’t muscular pain.
“An hour later, my body was shaking and shivering as it battled against my raging temperature.
“I took some paracetamol but although it brought my fever down a little, it didn’t last very long.
“I was also vomiting all night, so I ¬convinced myself that I had food poisoning.
“But as the morning came, I was in so much pain with my back that I couldn’t move without screaming out in agony.
“I move for a living, so to suddenly not be able to do anything was terrifying.
“Nothing I was doing was helping – in fact, it was getting far worse and I knew that something was seriously wrong. I had to get help.
“I called an ambulance and they had to lift me on to the stretcher to get me out of the flat.
“At hospital they ran all sorts of tests – blood, urine, heart, MRI, and discovered quite quickly that I was suffering from a kidney infection and severe dehydration.
“I was linked to an IV drip to rehydrate me and given painkillers and antibiotics to help manage the infection. They wanted to keep me in, but I just wanted to go home and get better.
“It wasn’t until three or four days later that I started to feel more like my normal self, but by then I’d lost a lot of weight because I hadn’t been able to keep any food down.
“I had to start by eating little and often to get my strength back up.
“I was painfully aware that I had a show in the Isle of Man the next weekend, and there was no way I was going to make it.
“But it was a long-standing commitment that involved 1,000 people, local TV and a dance competition for the kids.
“I didn’t want to let anybody down, but with just four days to go, I was in no fit state to perform.”
Kristina did in fact go on to perform in the show, but doing so took a toll.
As to how she manages her illness, she said, “Now, I’m very aware of my fluid intake.
“I thought I drank a lot of water before, but it wasn’t nearly enough for the amount of exertion that I do.
“I also make sure to drink a glass of cranberry juice every day and eat fresh cranberries whenever I can because they’re full of vitamin C and antioxidants.
“I have always eaten healthily, but I now take all sorts of supplements, such as vitamin B, evening primrose oil and cod liver oil.
“As for alcohol, I know how it makes me feel and after this episode I know that I never want to feel like it again!
“So it will only be one glass of wine on special occasions in the future, along with lots of water.”
Wow poor Kristina! Here’s a reminder of her in SCD action…