Guest Author - Tammy Elizabeth Southin
This year the North American Menopause Society’s (NAMS) 23rd Annual Meeting in Orlando Florida focused on Midlife and Beyond and The Power of Prevention. Bringing together thousands of healthcare experts from the United States and around the world, NAMS continues its mandate of quality healthcare for women and more importantly on improving attitudes towards menopause and aging.
Since its inception, this annual conference looks at several health issues women face and emerging treatment studies. NAMS has always maintained a strong dedication to ensuring all general practitioners and specialists understand the role menopause plays in aging, and how the aging process affects women during and beyond menopause.
NAMS does have a solid history of supporting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and has had to withstand contradictory reports such as the Women’s Health Initiative that espoused the dangers of HRT. At the same time, additional experts and celebrity spokespersons have offered their alternatives to HRT and urge women to explore various treatment options.
While NAMS has come out in 2012 and affirmed its belief in HRT, participants know that women are demanding more from their doctors in terms of menopause care. The makes the annual conference a balancing act between supporting scientific studies and increasing numbers of opponents.
The best features of this conference are that doctors are waking up and listening to their patients. To be sure, the pros and cons of HRT are discussed. But the more important components are the presentations tackling women’s pressing health concerns during menopause and how better to manage lifestyle choices and menopause symptoms.
Among the various topics, some of the highlights included:
*Image findings and healthcare screenings: are there too many false readings and how do doctors find a balance between easing patients’ concerns and over-diagnosing?
*Breast cancer diagnosis and exploration of treatment options to help improve survival rates.
*Osteoporosis and calcium and Vitamin D intake: how much is too much and why is there still debate over the benefits of Vitamin D beyond preventing bone disease?
*Diet and physical fitness: how to motivate patients to follow healthier lifestyles and break old habits that affect quality of life during and beyond menopause.
*Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease: what do patients and doctors need to know to decrease women’s death rates from cardiovascular disease?
*Low libido: how to address this difficult subject that women and doctors are both reluctant to discuss.
*Menopause and lesbian women: are there issues surrounding healthcare equality and are lesbian women being overlooked in terms of menopause care?
NAMS and its members deal with the ever-changing scientific discoveries. This makes events such as the 23rd Annual General Meeting a chance to shed old attitudes towards healthcare and promote new attitudes of proactive health management between doctors and patients.