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October 31, 1997     Cape Gazette
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October 31, 1997

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34 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Conference Continued from page 31 "AGENDA for Delaware Women" and conference planning committee member, said, "We are so pleased to be using the Delaware Tech College state-of- the-art fiber-optic technology. This makes it possible to bring the expertise of top professionals in the medical field to women throughout the state." Millsboro resident Margaret Hopkins commented, "I'm so glad that they brought the conference here with the video link; usually you have to go up state for this kind of thing. These are the things that I and my friends want to know about." Dickson-Witmer initiated dis- cussion of the controversial ef- fects of HRT. In her opinion, the conditions of menopause, whether natural or surgically induced, for which HRT is routinely used can be controlled or alleviated by oth- er methods. She advocates reduc- ing dietary fat intake drastically, intake of antioxidant foods or sup- i plements, performing regular weight-bearing exercise,, and hav- ing proper vision care so that ac- curate depth perception helps re- duce the chance of falling and breaking bones. For those using HRT, she strongly recommends limiting the use of the therapy to three-to-five years from the onset of menopause. Hormone therapy queries Sussex County panelists Alicea and Spellma n took issue with some of Dickson-Witmer's broad assertions regarding the risks of HRT and the alternatives. Spell- man said that while some alterna- tives are definitely beneficial, they do not completely offset results of the body's lack of hormone pro- duction. He agreed with Jaffee's remarks that while exercise and October 31 - November 6, 1997 calcium supplements may help maintain bone density, they do not have a role in maintaining bone integrity as does estrogen. Jaffee said, without estrogen, there is a loss of bone integrity. She also confirmed that use of estrogen alone does pose a high risk of breast cancer, and she rec- ommends only using the hormone in a program that includes proges- terone as well. She also said that some women are finding the use of the male hormone, methyl testosterone, a successful means of controlling some effects of menopause. "You have to weigh factors Very carefully when you consider not using HRT," said Spellman. "Without it, the risk of osteoporo- sis is very severe. And frequently, a broken bone, such as a hip frac- ture, can lead to becoming bedrid- den and to other complications that can lead to death." Alicea agreed, saying, "Heart disease increases greatly without estrogen. You have to consider how that balances with the risk of breast cancer. You should take many ,things into account when onsidering HRT." Garcia-Zaragoza said she makes her patients aware of the potential for using natural estro- gen; however, she said there is no naturally occurring progesterone to use in conjunction with it. - ] Heart of the matter In Stoler's presentation on heart. disease in women, she commented on the increase in the occurrence of the condition, and in the inci- dence of death caused by heart disease. She said prevention is of great importance, and women also need to be assertive in seeking an- swers and care for what may be a heart problem. "You can't save heart muscle unless you intervene," she said. "If you think you are having heart pain, chew an aspirin and go to the emergency room. Rosanne Pack photo At the Women's Health Conference last weekend, Maria Mendoza (1) and Rosia Flores watch a presentation brought to Sussex County by a video link with two other Delaware Tech campuses. "Take the bull by the horns and say, 'I am having chest pains; I want a classical work-up. It's not in my head.' If it is not a heart at- tack, good; but if it is, you have to act." Even before such admonitions from doctors, Deirdre O'Connor, video conference moderator, told conference participants that they must think in terms of three things in taking control of their health. "Ask your questions, keep on asking until you are informed and then, you can make your own in- telligent decisions. We are open- ing subjects of women's health and we will have frank, open com, munications." " - O'Connor, who is with the Omega Medical Center, also men- tioned the 15-year study, the Women's Health Initiative, being conducted by the National Insti- tute of Health. She said those who are interested in participating can get more information from the AGENDA for Delaware Women. Call for research Before participants heard from Delaware specialists, keynote speaker Comdr. Rosa Myers, called on the United States gov- ernment to apply the same energy and aggressiveness to medical re- search as is applied to military is- sues. "I'm calling for a 'from missiles to mammograms' mentality," My- ers said. "Let's adapt military technology to medical uses that can benefit all of us. If the Hubbel telescope can see into outer space and magnify objects so that we can see them, why can't we use that technology to improve mam- mograms so we are getting more accurate readings." Myers is the minority and women's health coordinator for Region III, office of Women's Health, U.S. Public Health Ser- vice. She assured those attending the conference that she is a re- source person and she could sup- ply people with the names and phone numbers that they might need regarding women's health is- sues. First lady Martha Carper was a welcoming speaker, and she com- mented on the emphasis she and her husband, Gov. Tom Carper, place on women's health issues, She said she is pleased that more Delaware women are added each year to the ranks of those who are insured, but she expressed con- cern that too many still miss the safety net of the insured. She listed several issues that are key to the Carper administration's health concerns including expand- ed access to prenatal care, de- creasing the incidence of infant ist m Now Offering Expanded Urological Se00ices Including: Female Urological Problems Kidney Stones including Lithotripsy Prostate Problems Diagnosis ,9 Treatment of Genito-urinary cancers Male Sexual Dysfunction Children's Urological Problems Urinary Incontinence Male Sterilization Disorders of Male Reproduction including Infertility mortality, outreach to first-time parents and an "all-out war on teen pregnancy." Martha Carper, a member of the Leadership Com- mittee of the Women's Health Campaign, is active in women's health issues locally and national- ly. From those coordinating the conference from the Stanton Cam- pus to the Jack Owens location, Tuman received praise for com- mitment and vision. As current chair of the "AGENDA for Delaware Women," she leads the organization that annually sets and works on priority issues for women. Included in the issues for 1997 are child care, health care, housing, pay equity, reproductive rights, violence against women and children, and welfare reform. In opening remarks of the con- ference, O'Connor said, "We must give credit to Rhonda for this state-of-the-art video confer- ence. It was her brainchild. She recognizes that the two southern counties are often left out, and she made it possible to be included URGENT FOR FOLKS AGE 50+: 2 Out of 5 Seniors* Will Need Nursing Home Care.* roday, the average annual cost of nursing home care is ! With a40%* chance of needing Long Term Care - either in a nursing home or at home -you should be aware that... 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