updated 23 Feb 2011, 04:36
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Thu, Jul 29, 2010
The Star/ANN
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Big C a worry for most women
by Lim Wey Wen

IT'S always the big C that occupies most women's minds. We all worry about the various cancers, like breast and cervical, which can afflict us as we age.

But we might actually be a little too preoccupied by cancer. Dr Lenny Da Costa thinks that the main health problems that affect the quality of a woman's life as she approaches her senior years are actually hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and depression.

As a consultant geriatrician and preventative cardiologist based in Goa (India) who has visited affiliate clinics all over the states of Maharshtra, Gujrat and Goa over the last five years, Dr Da Costa is all too familiar with the diseases that affect the hearts of the elderly.

"Normally, most of the diseases mentioned above, especially heart disease and diabetes, were long known to afflict men but now they are seen to afflict women in a big way," says Dr Da Costa via e-mail.

The reasons are manifold, he says.

First, there is stress - in today's highly competitive environment, stress levels soar.

Then, there is the trend - more and more women are consuming alcohol regularly and smoking today.

On top of that, high levels of pollution in the air, water and food increases our exposure to toxins that may increase oxidation, a chemical process that can give rise to early degeneration and ageing.

"In women, it is even worse as all this affects the normal hormone levels, giving rise to hormone imbalance that, in turn, upsets the entire health status of the woman," explains Dr Da Costa.

How, then, should a woman take care of her health - especially that of her heart - in these challenging times? That is what Dr Da Costa's is going to discuss in his talk, Heart Health for Women, at FemmeCity on Aug 1.

"If you are sincere, it is easy," says Dr Da Costa. You need a healthy lifestyle, regular check ups, regular exercise, regular detoxification and proper nutrition with proper supplements to protect your heart.

It might seem like a long list, but even that is not enough if you are looking for long-term heart health. Taking steps to prevent other conditions or diseases that may increase your risk of heart disease (like obesity, hypertension and diabetes) counts too.

In his talk, Dr Da Costa will touch on how the human body works and how women can prevent, perhaps even reverse, the start of chronic degeneration, especially when it comes to diseases like ischaemic heart disease (when the blood supply to the heart is reduced).

His talk will give women an insight into how heart disease starts and progresses and what are their options to treat it if they have it, or how to prevent it altogether.

Dr Da Costa doesn't plan on giving the usual advice which everyone knows already; instead, he will provide practical tips which you can include in your daily routine to keep your heart pumping healthily for years to come.

"Despite being a graduate of modern medicine, I believe that modern medicine does not have all the answers to chronic degeneration, and that we need to have an integrated approach to our health problems," says Dr Da Costa.

"I aim to give them options, especially in the alternative sphere, that can be integrated with the principles of modern medicine.

"To have a quality life as one ages, one must look at the options of preventing the scourges of chronic degeneration from setting in as long as possible."

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