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Lewes, Delaware
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October 31, 1997     Cape Gazette
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October 31, 1997
 

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CAPE G ZETIE, Friday, October 31 - November 6, 1997 - 31 HEALTH & FIT1 00ESS Women's Health Conference links Sussex to Delaware Heart disease, breast cancer, menopause among topics shared via electronic hookup By Rosanne Pack Sisterhood has many means of connecting, and in keeping with the times, the "AGENDA for Delaware Women" used electron- ics to connect women in each county for the first statewide women's health conference. Set on three Delaware Tech College campuses, the conference fea- tured a video-link component that connected Georgetown, Dover and Stanton for welcoming re- marks and presentations of the major speakers, before those at each site conducted individual panel discussions. Approximately 300 participants statewide shared in hearing infor- mation and opinions on heart dis- ease, breast • cancer and menopause. And, there were some differing opinions among the physicians, from those who spoke to the conference as a whole and those who spoke at the individual sites. The role of hormone replace- ment therapy (HRT) in prevention of heart disease and osteoporosis and in causation of breast cancer sparked discussion on all levels of the conference. HRT is routinely prescribed for those who are menopausal or who have had their ovaries removed. Many doctors are of the opinion that the benefits to be gained by the use of thera- peutic doses of estrogen far out- weigh the potential for harm. In addition to differing opinions on HRT, there was discussion re- garding the use of natural hor- mones. Some of those addressing the conference lamented that the United States lags behind some European countries in researcti and accumulation of data regard- ing natural estrogen. The presenters and their topics for the video-link portion of the conference were Dr. Irena Stoler, heart disease; Dr. Rita Gottesman and Dr. Diana Dickson-Witmer, breast cancer; and Dr. Rebecca Jaffee, menopause. Those on the Sussex County panel at the Jack Owens campus were Dr. Diane Adams, Bay- Health Services, Milford; Dr. An- gel Alicea, Nanticoke Cardiology, Seaford; Janet Brown, Advance Counseling, Milford; Dr. James Spellman Jr., Bay Surgical Ser- vices, Lewes; and Dr. Maribel Garcia-Zaragoza, Beebe Medical Center, Milton. The speakers gave very specific information regarding disease, preventative methods and treat- ments. Rosanne Pack photos Jill Roberts, Milton, poses a question to the panel at the Delaware Tech College Jack Owens campus location for the Women's Health Conference. Roberts and Judy Henry, Lewes, are among 300 women statewide who participated in the con- ference. Kayti Garcia, 7, spends her time with a coloring book while her mother attends the Women's Health Conference. Video links Sussex At the conclusion of each video " presentation, those at the George- town and Dover sites had the op- portunity to fax questions to the speakers for an immediate re- sponse. Several questions from Georgetown were answered using the video link. Continued on page 34 Members of the Sussex County panel at the Women's Health Conference listen as Dr. James Spellman Jr., Lewes, (second from left) responds to a question. Panel members are (l-r) Dr. Diane Adams, Milford; Spellman; Dr. Angel Alicea, Seaford; Janet Browni Milford; and Dr. Maribel Garcia-Zaragoza. Assess your risk for developing osteoporosis Osteoporosis is a skeletal disor- der in which a reduction of bone mass can result in a disfiguring posture, collapsing vertebrae and an increased susceptibil!ty to bone fractures, such as broken hips, lat- er in life. The condition can affect both men and women, although it is much more common in women: According to the National Osteo- porosis Foundation, one in two women over age 65 will develop fractures as a result of osteoporo- sis. Usually diagnosed in people around the age of 60, the disease actually begins to develop around age 30 or 35. Steps can be taken to prevent the disease, but it's best to start early in life. At each stage of your life, the condition of your bones is influ- enced by your level of exercise and calcium intake. A healthy lifestyle should begin when you are young and continue throughout your life. If you are over 30, it's not too late to start an osteoporosis prevention program to minimize your risk. Eating right and exercising at any stage of your life will help maintain bone mass and prevent osteoporo- sis from developing. Studies show that active people tend to maintain their bone mass ,more so than people who get little or no exercise. Your physician may refer you to a physical thera- pist for specific exercise instruc- tion. For a woman, it is extremely important to be healthy and active to help maintain a heavy bone mass through middle age and be- yond. It is especially important to be healthy during and after menopause. At this time in a woman's life, there are many hor- monal changes that can lead to weak, thin and brittle bones. After menopause, it is natural for a woman's bones to lose mass, so preventive measures should be taken to help reduce the risk of de- veloping osteoporosis during this stage of life. Most experts feel osteoporosis can be prevented, but cannot be reversed if already present. But progression of the disease can be slowed down and possibly even stopped through preventive steps. The best things you can do to reduce your risk of osteoporosis or slow down its progression in- clude: • eating a calcium-rich diet (dairy products and leafy green vegetables are especially high in calcium.) • taking calcium supplements recommended by your physician. • exercising regularly for 30 minutes at least three to four times per week. • taking part in estrogen re- placement therapy (if recom- mended by your physician, this can be an important part of pre- venting osteoporosis.) Women are already at a high risk of osteoporosis, so no matter what your age, you should begin taking these preventive measures to help your body fight osteoporo- sis. But some women are at an even greater risk from some other risk factors. Answer these questions to see how many risk factors you have: • Are you over age 35? • Are you Caucasian? • Is there a history of osteoporo- sis in your family? • Do you have a thin, petite build? • Did you experience early menopause (before age 45)? • Are you over 35 and never been pregnant? • Did you avoid dairy products as a child? • Do you smoke? • Is your diet high in salt, caf- feine and/or fat? • Do you get little or no exer- cise? If you answered "yes" to just one of the questions, you are at risk for developing osteoporosis. The more questions you answered "yes" to, the higher your risk. But whether you are young or old, it's not too late to start living a healthy life with an abundance of healthy foods and physical ac- tivities. A healthy lifestyle can decrease • your risk for osteoporosis and many other diseases - but you need to start now. For more information, call 1- 800-736-3020. HEALTH TOPICS Robert Cairo, P.T. Robert Cairo is a licensed physical therapist at Tidewa- ter Physical Therapy, 945- 5111. Tidewater has 13 offices throughout the Eastern Shore.