Last week I attended the Chatelaine/Mayo Clinic “Live Longer & Healthier” breakfast in Calgary, and it was awesome. And packed. Hardly a chair remained empty in the large ballroom (and I’m not just saying that because Chatelaine gives me lots of work).
I mean, they partnered with the MAYO CLINIC. How awesomely classy is that? I had a chance to chat with the event’s speakers, both of whom are internationally recognized experts in their respective fields.
Here’s a recap:
Dr. Sharon Mulvagh – Clinical Cardiologist
Dr. Mulvagh was introduced as an avid marathoner, so I liked her before she even began speaking. One thing from her speech that really stuck with me is that heart disease is the number one killer of women, yet just more than half of women know this.
In terms of risk factors, here’s what increases the risk of heart disease and by how much:
1. Smoking: three times the increased risk
2. High cholesterol: by three times
3. Hypertension (high blood pressure): doubles your risk
4. Diabetes: doubles your risk
5. High abdominal fat: by 1.5 times
6. High stress: by three times
To lower your risk she advises these three steps:
1. High fruit and vegetable intake: 30 percent decrease
2. Modest alcohol intake: 10 percent decrease
3. Exercise: 15 percent decrease (had to bold than one)
Avoiding the risk factors and embracing the alternatives can reduce a woman’s risk of heart disease by a whopping 90 percent! However, only three percent of women follow these guidelines. A few other interesting points Dr. Mulvagh made are:
1. An obese woman will have her heart attack 11 years earlier than a non-obese woman.
2. “A patient with diabetes we already treat them as though they have coronary artery disease because the risk is so high.”
3. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Know the warning signs of a heart attack and act on them if they occur.
Dr. Sandhya Pruthi – Expert in Breast Cancer
I had an interesting conversation with Dr. Pruthi after her presentation because my mother is currently in the breast cancer recovery phase. I wrote about the role of exercise for preventing breast cancer last October, and this year I wrote about exercise as a tool for enhancing recovery from breast cancer.
Dr. Pruthi discussed three main things to help prevent breast cancer. They are diet, exercise and alcohol moderation. We talked specifically about alcohol as it’s interesting that moderate amounts can be good for the heart, but when it comes to breast health, the less the better. I mentioned that I think “intoxicated” is such a great description for being drunk because it’s a toxin (it’s poisonous) and Dr. Pruthi agreed. If you’re a non-drinker, then don’t start. It’s not going to bestow some magical healing powers, although it may make other people seem more interesting.
Dr. Pruthi asserts that these three preventative measures, along with keeping body weight down, will lower your risk for breast cancer. Obesity, high saturated fat intake, too much alcohol, and a high intake of red meat (cooked with direct excessive heat) is going to significantly raise your risk.
Specifically, when it comes to booze, more drinking equals more risk. As far as activity is concerned, “Any activity is important,” she says. “Just walking is good,” because it, and exercise overall, lower the hormones that feed cancers. I think that’s cool.
In closing, I want to say thanks to Chatelaine (not sucking up, it really was awesome) and the Mayo Clinic for hosting this event. I spoke with a number of other attendees who had great things to say about it. I know I learned a lot.