At our July meeting Mrs Iris Hitchen, our president, reported on her trip to the National AGM at Cardiff which she attended as our Group Representative. While there she learnt that at present the W I has 207,000 members nationwide. Next year the subscription will be £30, a rise of only 50p. The resolution that was put forward concerning the labelling of foodstuffs with particular emphasis on the country of origin was passed with 6723 in favour and only 70 against . Evidently the highlight of the meeting was a performance by a singing group called ‘Only Men Aloud’ which was appreciated by all the ladies!

Our speaker, Ann Barnes, who runs a local support group, came to talk to us about osteoporosis, a subject of concern to all people past the age of 50, both men and women. She began by giving us the shocking statistic that 1in 2 women will break a bone sometime in their life due to fragility and for men the probability is 1 in 5. Bones, she told us, are made up of a network of tissue with small cavities partly to carry blood vessels and partly to ensure that they are not too heavy. These become enlarged in older people and therefore the bones are more easily broken. For good bone structure children should get plenty of exercise, nourishing food and sunlight. Bones mature at about 18 years of age and are then at their optimum density until the menopause in women and until about 50 in men. As bones are made of living tissue they are constantly being renewed through the building up and casting off of cells and this activity lessens after the change of life due to a lack of oestrogen in women, testosterone in men. A person is more likely to be affected if there is a history of bone problems in their family. Some medications such as steroids can prevent calcium being laid down; also to blame are bad eating habits, alcoholism and smoking.

Everybody with a fracture over the age of 45 is now given a DXA scan, obtainable at Ipswich Hospital, which can diagnose the condition and then appropriate medication can be proscribed. People can help matters by taking vitamin D and calcium supplements, getting plenty of sunshine (but not too much!) and involving themselves in weight bearing exercise such as walking, dancing and sporting activities. All the aforementioned can help to alleviate the condition.

I hope some people might be interested in joining us on our outing to Carters Vineyard, Essex on the 26th of August. There will be an informative video, a walk round the vines, a tour of the winery and cellar and a tasting of five wines, followed by a cream tea. The price is £17 for coach and tour. The coach will depart from Kirton Village Hall at 12.30 and return about 5.00 pm. Phone me on 01394 448487 if you are interested.

Valerie Bines


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