I had the opportunity to attend the Women’s Midlife Health Symposium in November and thoroughly enjoyed myself. On such a dark and wet Sunday morning I was pleased to see more than 100 people turn out.
Dr. Diane Finegood with the Canadian Institute of Health Research spoke about having 58% prevention of diabetes with lifestyle intervention for people with high risk for type 2 diabetes. I can concur that my best HbA1c results were when I was called by a diabetes education nurse once a week as part of a research study conducted by the BC Endocrine Research Foundation. Dr. Finegood reported that even 30 minutes of exercise a day 5 days a week made an impact on the onset of diabetes and related complications. She also warned that obesity has been identified as the number 1 health problem in North America, is a major predictor of type 2 diabetes and the problem increases annually.
Dr. Jerilynn Prior, professor of endrocrinology at UBC spoke about what’s new in perimenopause. Contrary to common belief the levels of estrogen can actually be high and chaotic during perimenopause. Also, research is showing there is bone loss before menopause. Stress hormones were discussed as bad for bones and birth control pills have been shown not to build bone. Exercise, nutrition and some supplements can be helpful during perimenopause and after. Dr. Prior is involved with the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CAMOS).
Andrea Swan an RN from the Victoria James Bay Community Health Project spoke about what women want in midlife. Her involvement combines social, health services, community services and youth and womens education. She has identified that mid-life women have not had the opportunity to speak to their mothers about the changes during perimenopause and menopause because of cultural norms. In the year 2002 there is an overwhelming amount of information from media and professionals. In groups, such as the ones she facilitates at James Bay, she helps women find their way through the maze of information so they can make informed decisions about their health and life choices.
I found this an extremely enjoyable symposium with lots of valuable information. Many thanks to the panel and our very able host, Joyce Resin. Another success story for the BC Endocrine Research Foundation.