Nikolina Shtereva: I was diagnosed with thyroid disease during an eye examination

Nikolina Shtereva: I was diagnosed with thyroid disease during an eye examination
Nikolina Shtereva: I was diagnosed with thyroid disease during an eye examination

Nikolina Shtereva will go down in the history of Bulgarian sports as our first female track and field athlete who participated in two finals at the Olympic Games. In Montreal 1976, she won a silver medal in the 800m and finished fourth in the 1500m. Her time in the final in Montreal - 1:55, 42 minutes, still stands today as Bulgaria's record in the 800m. Shtereva has 9 national titles in the event, three more in the 1500m and two in the 400m. She is a two-time European indoor champion (1976 and 1979), winner of the World Cup in Montreal in 1979. In 1976 she set a world record 800 m indoor (2:01, 1 min) and European 1500 m indoor (4:10, 4 min).

The great champion participates in a charity initiative to support children with oncohematological diseases. Especially for the readers of "Doctor" Nikolina Shtereva shared how she keeps herself in good he alth.

Do you eat he althy?

- There are things I have changed in my diet over the years. I used to like to drink coffee with a lot of sugar. Now I started drinking it with honey because honey is better than sugar. I stopped frying in my kitchen. I've always loved fruit, so I went ahead with it. But I'm not a vegetarian. It is eccentric to become a vegetarian when I was young. Moreover, I am not at all sure about the quality of the vegetables - how they are grown, what they are fertilized with, whether they are genetically modified.

When I was a competitor, they gave us a complex of vitamins and minerals with a very strong smell of vitamin B. I drank it with disgust. One of the doctors of the national team, Dr. Parvanov, said that whatever it needs, the body asks for it, and if something is taken by force, it is not even absorbed. If you eat something just because you have to, you actually absorb a very small percentage of its valuable substances. The same doctor encouraged me to stop taking this multivitamin complex that contained half of the Mendeleev table. He told me to take other vitamins.

Do you take medication?

- At one point I was diagnosed with high cholesterol - about 7 units. Then I started taking a harmless complex that had peptin, cinnamon, etc. things that clear cholesterol naturally. With this little effort on my part, I got it down to 6 units. However, they explained to me that I should take a medicine that breaks down cholesterol and damages the liver instead. I had to choose

which should I sacrifice - the cardiovascular system or the liver

However, another doctor told me that she also has high cholesterol. In some people, the body breaks down cholesterol, in others - it does not. But that doesn't mean you'll necessarily die from high cholesterol. Yes, it needs to be followed, but it's not a pain to die.

I am against extremes - against stuffing yourself with food, drinking a lot, smoking. But also against obsessing over ecological foods. My friend bought an ecological cucumber - it stayed in the refrigerator for two weeks and did not move. What is ecological then, apart from the price?! The best way to live a he althy life is to be moderate in everything.

Did you have any injuries during your sports career?

- Yes. Through the injury, the body reacts to the heavy load. I have a problem with my ankle from frequent injuries since I was young. Exercising in the park, you very often step in holes, on roots covered with leaves and sprain your ankle. At the moment you don't pay attention and immediately continue. But the ankle is injured, there are traumatic injuries. There are untreated injuries that pass in motion. Anyone who wants to achieve something great in sports cannot afford to lose out on the training process. Success in sports is associated with incredible hard work.

Did you get rid of it without surgery?

- No, I have Achilles surgery. My Achilles tendon was often inflamed and I couldn't train for 1-2 months at a time. I was getting back on the track earlier, but I was re-inflaming it. All this resulted in adhesions. I've seen a picture of my achilles during surgery - it was covered in a web of adhesions. When these adhesions are cleaned, the tendon can now stretch to its maximum.

Where did you have your surgery?

- I was lucky enough to have a choice of where to have my surgery. I chose Helsinki with the then famous Prof. Peotokalio. I went during the first World Athletics Championships in Helsinki in 1983. I just went to watch the competition because I had a sore Achilles and couldn't prepare. Athletes Evgeni Ignatov and Plamen Krastev were operated on and I stopped by to visit the hospital. There I met the surgeon. Prof. Peotokalio offered to operate on me. Many elite athletes allowed themselves to be treated by him. Others were operated in the GDR. In Bulgaria, only the second echelon athletes were operated on, and I regret to say that at that time many unsuccessful operations were performed here. And not that this operation is so complicated, on the contrary - it is elementary. Prof. Peotokalio himself explained to me when I asked him why I should come to Helsinki, and he did not come to Sofia to operate on ten people. It would be better for us too, we wouldn't have to pay for expensive plane tickets, for hotels, and the Finnish surgeon would get his fees. He said: “The only thing that stops me is the hygiene in your operating rooms. The operation is simple. In your case, the big problems are from contamination of the tendon".

Then I realized for the first time that if a stomach operation is performed, the surgeon can hardly spit into the stomach and it will not cause an infection. While tendons must be truly sterile - they have no protection against germs and the slightest contamination can infect them. That is why Prof. Peotokalio did not operate on us in Sofia. In Helsinki, even the instruments were only used for one operation and then melted down. Now I guess tendon surgeries are now done with laser.

How long did you recover from the surgery?

- He picks you up right away. Two days after the operation, he makes you walk, step, because the Achilles was not torn. The only thing you have to overcome is the pain of the cut itself.

Are you he althy now, are you taking pills for something?

- I have slight thyroid problems but they are from age. I drink small doses of El-thyrox. I found this problem quite by accident. I had an ultrasound and then another test confirmed that I had Hashimoto's. But they reassured me that actually every second or third person has it.

Do you go for preventive examinations?

- Yes, if nothing else, at least in this respect I am very strict.

I go to gynecologist, mammologist, eye doctor, etc

I was just diagnosed with thyroid disease during an eye examination. I went to change my glasses. I usually used one for near vision and one for distance vision. I decided to make a pair of glasses so I wouldn't have to look for my glasses forever. My doctor told me that I have higher eye pressure and that it could be due to my thyroid. He advised me to examine her and on this occasion I made a referral to an endocrinologist. And I didn't have any hormonal complaints. Turns out I really do have this modern Hashimoto's disease.

Which medicine do you trust - official or alternative methods?

- A friend of mine was treated only with homeopathy for 10 years. Sometimes she had such severe headaches, and she did not drink aspirin, analgin, or any pain reliever, in order to completely clear her body of chemical drugs. However, she developed colon cancer and underwent chemotherapy. Then he said to himself: "It's a pity for all the torture with the headache, that I didn't dare to take painkillers to keep my body clean. Now I had to take so many medicines to save myself from cancer”. So it's all a matter of luck - something is meant to happen to you and you can't avoid it. I could be walking down the street and an air conditioner would fall on top of me and kill me absolutely safe (laughs).

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