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Category: Health

Women and Heart disease: what you need to know

Posted in Aging, Health, and Women's issues

heartI wasn’t prepared for the statistics I heard at “Heart Disease and Stroke”, a presentation by St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. What drew me to attend was a piece of information I’d read that women’s symptoms for heart attacks are different from men’s. That surprised me and I wanted to know more.

Let’s get the figures out of the way first:

  • while 40 to 60% of women are concerned about dying of breast cancer, only 4% do,
  • but 53% of us will die from a cardiovascular disease.
  • even more frightening, 63% of women who die of a heart attack had no previous symptoms.
  • plus we tend to suffer from such episodes later in life
  • and, once we do, the effects are more devastating and our subsequent life span shorter than for men.

Gray Matters – is colouring your hair after 50 a smart move?

Posted in Aging, Health, and Style & Travel

Helen Mirren - ever stylish
Helen Mirren – ever stylish

It’s 12: I counted them. Had to assess the strength of the enemy. Right on top of my head, and, against my dark hair, these 12 gray strays are even more noticeable. I didn’t have it in me to be a good sport about it and declared war over a year ago. Armed with tweezers and glasses, I could be found, most nights, in front of the bathroom mirror. Plucking away more than just those 12 hairs. Have you any idea how hard it is to pluck the exact strand while looking in a mirror?

Finally, Maxime, my ever patient hairdresser who has known me for 15 years, asked: “If zey bug you so much, why don’t you have your ‘air colored? Here, let me introduce you to Heide”. And, just like that, beautiful Heide entered my life, and she seems set to stay until I am ready to let go. Or keel over with beautiful, dark tresses.

Gluten and sugar free blueberry muffins

Posted in Food, Food & Entertaining, and Health

Gluten free muffinsA pastry chef dissing sugar can come across as an oxymoron. But I have always been a pastry chef hell-bent on not using corn syrup, food coloring and on avoiding overly sweet and cloying creations. Since I left my job, I have been trying to wean myself off the need of reaching for something sweet (usually chocolate – even dark chocolate contains sugar) after every meal. Breakfast pastries are not part of my breakfast any longer (well, with the exception of Italy, where I cannot forego cappuccino and croissant) as the notorious sugar crash induced by such foods has become more noticeable as I age.

To lift or not to lift – An interview on cosmetic surgery with Dr. Malcolm Lesavoy

Posted in Aging, and Health

Raise your hand if you never caught yourself in front of the mirror, pulling the skin just above your cheekbones up and back, just to see “what it would look…

Re-arranging the body – one part at a time

Posted in Health, and Things We Love

New Year often brings with it resolutions to change how we look. Mostly unmanageable, uncharacteristic and unmaintainable.  Photographer Fabien Nissels took it a step further. By photographing each of his friend Johan’s body parts…

The Tao of Yoga

Posted in Aging, Health, and Life & Love

Tao Porchon-Lynch.
Tao Porchon-Lynch.

Both camparigirl and I practice yoga, and go through the fluctuations of time spent on the mat that most busy yogis experience. Both of us leave class each time, thinking to ourselves – “I loved that, I really should do more of it. Anmhour a day would be perfect”. Then life intervenes, and we’re back to a couple days a week. Essentially we should be able to practice yoga until the day we die .. that’s the theory anyway.  But stiffening joints and atrophying muscles might not always make that possible.

So we were thrilled, inspired and heartened to read on that the Guinness Book of World Records has recently named New York resident Tao Porchon-Lynch the world’s oldest yoga instructor.

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

Posted in Aging, Health, and Women's issues

Tuba manThe first time I realised I snored was when I went on holiday with my friend K to Morocco and she woke me in the middle of the night. I had just left my job and was stressed, she was in the middle of a merger at hers and was more stressed. Why two New York City gals decided to do Morocco on a cheap and cheerful is beyond me. What we really needed was a long weekend at a Four Seasons somewhere. Alternating cocktails with spa treatments. But, as ever with me, I want to travel somewhere new and K needed a break.

By day two – K was really cross and I understood why. I once had a boyfriend who snored so loudly that I used to sleep in the lounge. Made me vile tempered the next day. And ultimately ended the relationship. My dad had also always snored – I remember my niece mimicking him when she was about 8 months old. They were taking an afternoon nap and in between Dad’s stentorian roars, we heard little baby snores: mixed with giggles.

The Human in HIV, the I in AIDS

Posted in Health, and Women's issues

Last year I met some women in Kwa-Zulu Natal who blew my socks off. KZN is the province most devastated by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Almost 40% of the population there is estimated to be living with HIV. One in five children is an AIDS orphan.

School kids near Durban – the capital of KNZ listen to the Ultra-Marathon Team Talk

I was there with the Positive Heroes Ultra-Marathon team. We do outreach work in communities around the race routes. Nothing better proves that HIV is survivable than five healthy, fit people standing up in front of you saying “Hi I am HIV positive and I am running the Comrades Marathon (almost 90km /56 miles) tomorrow”.

That day we were visiting a secondary (high) school about an hour outside of Durban. Parents had trickled in to see what we were up to – and two ladies came over to me and offered me some eggs. They were so thrilled that we were at the school, that we had honoured them with a visit – they had come to welcome us.

But more than that – these eggs were from their own chickens. As we talked, I learned they had a business. They had grown from having one henhouse – supplementing their families’ food store; to building and maintaining three henhouses that held 20 chickens. They sold and bartered the eggs. Fed, housed and clothed their families with the proceeds. And, importantly, were able to send their kids to the school we were visiting. They were very proud of their henhouses and they offered to show them to me.

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