Pittwater Life February 2017 Issue


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Women’s Health Special


Chronic diseases such as heart

disease, cancer and diabetes

are caused by a combination of

different factors called risk factors.

Some of these risk factors are out of your

control (your genes or your age) others

can be changed (smoking, your diet, your

weight), while some are still unknown.

Risk factors are cumulative – the more

risk factors you have, the higher your risk

of developing chronic diseases.

That is why it is important to know

about diseases and conditions and learn

what you can do to reduce your risks.

Its important to note

having risk factors

for certain diseases

does not mean you

will automatically get a

disease and there are

some people diagnosed

with health problems

who don’t have obvious

risk factors.

Be aware of signs and

symptoms that may

indicate a problem but

don’t worry yourself sick.

You know your body

better than anyone else,

if you notice any changes

or you are concerned see

your doctor. Speaking to

a doctor can help allay

any fears you may have.


Heart disease is the leading cause of

death in Australian women. It is caused by

the gradual clogging of the arteries that

supply blood to the heart. This can lead

to heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

The good news is heart disease is largely

preventable – leading a healthy lifestyle

can greatly reduce your risk.

Risk factors include:

n Smoking

n High blood cholesterol

n Overweight/ Physical inactivity

n Diabetes

n High blood pressure

n Depression

n Increasing age, a family history of early

death from heart disease or being


What you can do

High blood cholesterol and high blood


Trouble hearing?

Women between the ages of

15-30 are the most at risk

of developing Otosclerosis.

“Otosclerosis is an abnormal

bone growth in the middle ear

that can cause hearing loss

– this hearing loss can often

be treated with surgery,” says

Audiologist Emma van Wanrooy

of Pittwater Hearing in Avalon.

Hearing loss affects 40-50%

of women over the age of 60

years of age, says Emma.

Awareness and treatment of

hearing loss is important to

ensure you can participate in

all social situations.

pressure and type 2

diabetes rarely give

warning signs which is

why it is important to see

your doctor for regular

checks so you know your levels and what

this means for your health.

To improve blood cholesterol levels eat

a healthy diet that is low in saturated fats.

Some people may also need medication

to improve their cholesterol levels.

If your blood pressure is high, reduce

salt intake, go easy on the alcohol and

follow your doctor’s advice. Medication

may be required.


Diabetes is a condition where there is too

much glucose (sugar) in the blood.

The rise in glucose occurs because the

body can’t make enough insulin or the

insulin produced is not working properly.

Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose

from the blood stream into the cells of

the body where it is used for energy.

High blood glucose levels over a period

of time will cause damage to your blood

vessels and nerves. This can result in


heart disease, stroke, eye problems,

kidney disease and other complications

such as infections and foot problems.

Risk factors include:

n A family history of type 2 diabetes

n Being older than 55 years of age

n A waist circumference greater than

80cm for women

n Gestational diabetes

n Polycystic ovary syndrome

n Poor diet

n Any of the following cultural

backgrounds: Aboriginal or Torres

Strait Islands, Pacific Islands, Indian

subcontinent or Chinese

n High blood pressure and/or high blood

cholesterol and/or a history of heart


What you can do

The only way to know your blood glucose

level (BGL) is through a blood test

organised by your doctor.

There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but

there’s plenty you can do to manage – or

prevent – the condition. Research shows

that up to 60 per cent of cases of type

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