Medical Truths

Diane Stride: Series provides medical truths

We live in an age where there is a lot of information out there -- in the media, on the radio, the internet, plus we have lots of people offering well-meaning advice.

Although Google is wonderful, it is easy for information to be misunderstood. Some sites are written by people who may only have knowledge about a certain aspect and don't understand all the issues that may be relevant. Often information leaves people more confused than before they started.

The basis for this "information overload" was one of the drivers behind organising the Women's Health Series, as there is significant knowledge in Hawke's Bay with specialists willing to impart this knowledge. As part of this series I didn't just want people learning truths, I also wanted us to have the opportunity to give back to the community. The Women's Health Series is suitable for women of all ages, but particularly women aged 20 years and up, as many of the issues discussed are not age related.

For the first time in Hawke's Bay, we have three experienced medical professionals all under one roof, providing up-to-date medical information and being available to answer questions.

My topic, diet and its effect on your health, is aimed at explaining some of the research and increasing awareness around health issues that can be improved significantly via dietary modification. My aim is to provide something for everyone -- either themselves or someone they know. We live in a world where many people feel they may have intolerances or allergies, and we know that the rate of allergies is increasing.

My aim is to explain the difference between the food allergies and intolerances, highlight some specific medical conditions that improve significantly with dietary modification and also give some suggestions on healthy living.

The talk will be a mixture of scientific facts and case studies to make it more relevant. Due to the personal nature of some of the health issues, I will be staying behind after the sessions are over to answer specific questions people may have.

"Hormones" is a huge buzzword out there and many people want reassurance that they don't have hormonal issues. Hawke's Bay is very fortunate to have Dr Schmiedel, an endocrinologist (a specialist who deals with hormones, pancreas, thyroid issues etc) who works in the Hawke's Bay DHB as well as in private practice. He is the only endocrinologist in the area and has achieved the highest level of training in his field. His talk will be interactive in nature, as he wants to ensure that he talks about the aspects the audience are most interested in. Examples of hormones are: cortisol, the adrenal hormones (eg in adrenal fatigue), insulin (the hormone involved in blood sugar control and diabetes); thyroid hormones and the hunger hormones, among others. These hormones can affect women of any age, and can have a significant effect on health, weight and our responses to food.

Menopause is that big event that awaits all women at some stage. Dr Harrison, gynaecologist at the Hawke's Bay DHB and in a private practice, will help take out some of the mysteries surrounding this.

He will specifically focus on what to expect if you haven't yet started menopause; what is normal if you are in the midst of it and when to seek professional help for your symptoms. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one of the treatments sometimes used and is often misunderstood and is a topical subject. Dr Harrison will present the latest research findings into HRT, so that women will have a better understanding of it.

The Women's Health Series will be held at the Havelock North Function Centre (next to the library), on March 11.

Tickets are $25 and are on sale at the i-Sites in Havelock North and Hastings and at Monique Therese Jeweller in Havelock North. Online sales are also available. For information contact Diane at or 06-211 0618. See my website There will be goodie bags and spot prizes on the night. A jewellery item, designed and donated by Bruce Jackson and its Unio Goldsmiths, also will be raffled on the night.

Thanks to Tremains and their agent Gretchen Paapa, who are sponsoring the venue hire.

All the ticket sales are going to support Child Cancer in Hawke's Bay.

See the news articles in the Hawkes Bay Today