It wasn’t that long ago that the commonly recognized signs of heart disease were based primarily on research done with men. When medical research on heart disease in women proved that our symptoms – shortness of breath, pain in the right arm, nausea or vomiting, sweating, lightheadedness or dizziness, unusual fatigue and neck/jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort – were different from men’s typical chest-pain symptoms, new diagnostics came into play: ones that would serve women and the doctors who care for them.
Why is this important? Why do we need to focus on women’s health issues? At the very least, awareness of issues specific to female bodies can save lives and give women the tools to live longer and healthier ones. And the fact that women are often in charge of health and wellness concerns for the whole family means that accessing a broad spectrum of information gives women the tools to become proactive in everyone’s well-being.
To that end, “Experience the Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle” is the theme for this year’s Women’s Health and Fitness Expo, scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at Miller Middle School in Lake Katrine. The purpose of the Expo is to highlight all the modalities of healthful living that are available to women and are especially geared to address female concerns. “Most of us tend to fragment our health into little compartments: what we eat, how or if we exercise, when we get checkups or if we meditate or take vitamins, supplements or medication,” says Dr. Debra Karnasiewicz, the Expo’s founder and director. “But the various disciplines are not at odds with each other.”
Karnasiewicz is an internist with a thriving medical practice. Convinced of the necessity to encourage women to take care of their own needs, she launched the Expo in 2000. Thousands of women each year have availed themselves of the resources that the event provides. Now celebrating its 16th year, the Expo will offer more than 100 booths and exhibits covering both traditional and alternative medical practices, all aimed at educating the community on the importance of eating well, exercising and living more healthily. Seminars and workshops will offer an eclectic mix of topics from hypnosis to menopause to managing stress. And fitness classes will include something for everyone: tai chi, Zumba and a slew of others that conspire to get the body moving.
Special guest Joel Weintraub will speak on the vital importance of humor to the healing processes: Did you know that a good laugh can affect memory, creativity and productivity while decreasing the impact of disease? There will be seminars from fitness gurus Kristin McGee and Amanda J. Young, as well as lectures from Dr. Laura Corio, author of The Change before the Change: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Healthy in the Decade before Menopause, and authors Ilyse Shapiro and Hallie Rich of Should I Scoop out My Bagel? and 99 Other Answers to Your Everyday Diet and Nutrition Questions to Help You Lose Weight, Feel Great and Live Healthy.
Attendees will have the opportunity to speak privately with medical professionals staffing the “The Doctor Is In” booth, and more than 20 free health screenings will be available, including body-fat testing, HIV testing, blood pressure and cholesterol testing, diabetes and pulmonary testing, bone density and spinal analysis, ocular and hearing screening and many more. Additionally, a Healthy Food Court will focus on what to eat, with cooking demos and samples offered by area chefs.
A kids’ zone, farmers’ market, spa zone, book-signings by noted authors and – to be more gender-inclusive – a variety of topics geared towards men will also be featured this year. Come be inspired to get healthy and stay that way!
Women’s Health & Fitness Expo, Saturday, May 7, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., $8 advance/$10 door, Miller Middle School, 65 Fording Place Road, Lake Katrine; (845) 802-7025, www.womenshealthexpo.com.