Alcohol

Breast Awareness & Women’s Health

Last night I attended a monthly presentation & discussion group for women, where the theme was ‘Breast Care Awareness’. This month, October, is Breast Cancer Awareness month  – which you may be familiar with as there are many initiatives and events on with this theme. The event that I attended offered a very different approach in the way breasts are currently viewed and discussed. There are many breast awareness campaigns that assist women in being aware of and detecting changes in their breasts, due to the very high prevalence of breast cancer in our society today.

There is still debate in medical circles about whether women should be examining their breasts, and how often/when GPs should be offering breast examination, due to the risk of causing ‘false alarm’ or causing harm from investigating lumps that may never cause concern. Likewise, there is controversy about breast screening programs (usually mammogram), and whether they are picking up too many early cancers that would otherwise have resolved, without invasive testing/treatment. From this couple of sentences alone – and no doubt what we see in the media from day to day, we can see that much of the conversation today about breasts is centred on breast cancer.

Whilst this is a very important conversation to continue having, there is also further for us to go in how we view and discuss women’s health on the whole. (more…)

Alcohol Consumption: Is There a Recommended Daily Intake?

Alcohol is a toxic substance that has many effects on the human body (Zakhari, 2006). As humans, we have been consuming it for leisure for many hundreds, if not thousands of years. We know that alcohol causes damage to the delicate tissues of our body – including of course our heart, liver and brain.

As well as the physical effects, alcohol disturbs the way a person thinks and acts – clearly seen in the amount of alcohol-related violence in our society, and more subtly in the way it affects a person’s mood for days following an alcohol-related event.

As alcohol is clearly a substance that causes harm, it makes fairly obvious sense not to consume it – and yet our society at large still continues to do so. There are numerous reasons underlying this, and one is in part the perception that alcohol is ‘okay’ and that there is a ‘recommended daily intake’ by some people. This is simply not the case – there is no completely safe, or healthy level of alcohol consumption. (more…)

Celebration

At this time of year celebrations are aplenty. There is no shortage of Christmas parties amongst family and work colleagues, followed by the ringing in of the New Year. This time of celebration is often one of indulgence and people often allow themselves a few kilograms to come and go as part of what is seen as a normal rite of passage.

It is an interesting concept to ponder – a time of year where gaining weight, eating too much and ‘over-indulging’ is considered the norm. Why is this? (more…)