Tag: Health & wellbeing

‘I had this time-bomb inside me’ – BBC News

Image copyright Helga MacFarlane
Image caption Helga Macfarlane was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, (HCM)

Helga Macfarlane says she is “horrified” to think that she was unknowingly living with a faulty gene that put her at high risk of coronary heart disease or sudden death.

The 52-year-old, from Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, seemed to be fit and healthy all her life and took part in numerous sports, including squash and running.

Ms Macfarlane was diagnosed last year with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, (HCM), which is an inherited condition.

Her diagnosis came almost 20 years after a brief episode of irregular heart rhythm in her 30s, the cause of which was not found.

“In hindsight it absolutely frightened me that I had run and played squash and I had this time-bomb inside me,” she told BBC Scotland.



Image copyright Helga Macfarlane
Image caption Helga’s son Murray was tested for the faulty gene


According to new research from the British Heart Foundation, more than 50,000 Scots are thought to be carrying a faulty gene that puts them at high risk of heart disease.

The majority of those affected are undiagnosed and unaware that they may be at risk of a sudden heart attack.

Each week in the UK about 12 seemingly healthy people aged 35 or under are victims of sudden cardiac death with no explanation.

Ms Macfarlane says she had first noticed irregular heart beats and palpitations when she was in her 30s but nothing was found.

“Then in my mid-40s I started getting more severe palpitations, light-headedness and I passed out a couple of times,” she says.

“I was referred back to the cardiology department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, who did various tests and echo scans, ultrasounds, a treadmill test and they could not find anything at all.

“There was certainly nothing lifestyle related like blocked arteries or anything so it was a bit of a mystery.”

Ms Macfarlane says she was “starting to feel like I was some kind of hypochondriac” but doctors persevered with their tests.

Cardiac defibrillator

Eventually she was fitted with a reveal monitor, which was implanted into her body for two years.

“For 18 months it didn’t pick up anything,” she says.

“Then in the last six months it picked up what’s called tachycardia, which is a very fast heart beat.

“They were able to analyse this and see that it was something a bit sinister.”

Another episode of fainting last June led to an MRI scan which showed that the wall of her left ventricle, which is the lower chamber of the heart, was thickened.

That suggested the possibility of an inherited heart condition.

She was sent for a gene test which gave the positive result.

Ms Macfarlane says that her father had died of a heart condition but doctors could not tell from his notes whether he had carried the faulty gene.

They also tested Ms MacFarlane’s son and her brother to see if they had the gene. Both tested negative.

As a result of her diagnosis, Ms Macfarlane was fitted with a cardiac defibrillator.

She says: “That gave me a complete new lease of life because I had lost all my confidence, knowing that I had the condition that could possibly lead to sudden cardiac death.

“The cardiac defibrillator constantly monitors my heart and if the rhythm goes off or my heart stops for any reason it will kick in and I am extremely lucky to have that.”

This Is What Kourtney Kardashian Eats To Stay Healthy

I’ll be totally honest that I don’t exactly Keep Up with the Kardashians, but like, I hate-stalk Kylie with every fiber of my being, so that’s got to count for something. But in terms of the OG Kardashian sisters, I don’t know a whole lot about them, other than what I gather from other Betches articles. Like, Kim is the vain one (I am the Kim of my family), Khloé is the funny one, and Kourtney is the healthy one who like, cares a lot about eating organic and gluten-free shit. Right? I think I’ve got the bases covered. And given that Kourtney is also the hottest one (don’t fight me on this; her face has changed the least over the years compared to her sisters), it’s understandable why people would want to know what Kourtney Kardashian eats. How does she look better at age 38 with three kids than I do after a good week where I stick to my diet and fitness regimen? I mean, probably because she has a very expensive plastic surgeon personal trainer and her livelihood literally depends on her having a desirable physique. But other than that, her diet probably plays a role. So what does Kourtney Kardashian eat to stay skinny? Let’s investigate. Diet-Banners-250x250

On Kourtney’s members-only website (who is paying for this?), she revealed some key ingredients she swears by. As we all know, Kourtney went gluten- and dairy-free last spring, but she also has a serious sweet tooth, because LOL! She’s just so relatable. Kourtney previously told that she uses gluten-free flours like almond and sweet rice flour. Groundbreaking stuff. She also uses lots of coconut products like coconut oil and coconut flour. Apparently, behind the paywall on Kourtney’s website, you can find recipes for some of her fave coconut recipes, like coconut macaroons and pudding. And that’s how she sticks to her diet while still “indulging” in bootleg desserts that sound gross. IDK, I feel like if you’re about to go bake a cake out of coconut flour, you should either just make a regular fucking cake or eat some fruit. It’s like Ron Swanson says: Don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

If there are people out there who are really paying to see Kourtney Kardashian’s coconut macaroon recipe, please comment below because I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

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Feminism with no human warmth leaves me cold | Zoe Williams

Im a fan of the acclaimed young writer known as the Slumflower. But her sexual creed of exploitation appals me, says Guardian columnist Zoe Williams

A couple of years ago, the feminist society of Deptford Green secondary school convened a conference. It was there that I met Chidera Eggerue: aka the Slumflower, author of What a Time to be Alone, hashtagger of the #saggyboobsmatter movement. She was a remarkable woman. I dont want to call her a remarkable young woman, even though she was 23 at the time: young is such a modifier and she would have been remarkable at any age.

Her broad message was one of body positivity: if you love yourself and your shape, nobody can shame you. She built what I thought was a brisk, convincing and quite dispiriting picture of the various problems her generation faces: late capitalist consumerism combined with intense pressure to conform physically you must be this shape, to fit into this item, to look this good on Instagram while the new misogyny of the alt-right built an army of enforcers, angry men happy to roam the internet looking for any woman who might look happy with herself, to tell her about the state of her upper arms. And perhaps some men took that corrosive body-pedantry into their relationships and made women feel rubbish about themselves in real life, but the Slumflowers message love yourself, and that is your suit of armour was much more important and universal than relationship advice, and spoke powerfully to girls who were ages away from their first shitty boyfriend, as well as enlighteningly to women who were ages from being able to remember him.

Eggerue did a TED talk and guest-edited the Today programme. She has a quarter of a million Instagram followers, and is plainly a force for inspiration. But fast-forward to now, the message has changed. Like a mash-up of Naomi Wolf and early-era Beyonc, she has taken a female self-sufficiency narrative and spliced it with a coquettish 1950s individualism, to create something appalling, in my view a creed of exploitation. Initially I thought someone had hacked her Twitter feed: If he says he loves you, and you are still paying your own bills, you settled for a roommate. It got uglier: Men shouldnt open their useless mouths to invite me anywhere if they are not arranging my (luxe) travel and covering my Michelin star meal, plus some money (1k) in a brown envelope to thank me for donating my time to them that I could have spent at home relaxing.

A new voice of feminism, in short, had turned into something I found anti-feminist, anti-humanist, anti-intimacy, anti-everything I care about. The idea that you can address the objectification of women by abasing men you want to measure us by the pound? Make sure you can afford to is a race to the bottom. It goes against every element of the feminism I understand, in which women aspire not to be kept by men, but to have agency and self-determination and the ability to keep themselves. Women dont present their sexuality as a commodity that only the rich man deserves, because they have sexual destinies of their own, which cannot be bought or sold, can only be realised or thwarted. Above all, my feminism doesnt even exist without the presumption that all human beings are infinitely precious, infinitely vulnerable, that none of us could withstand the harshness of this worldview, in which we all use each other furiously until everybodys spent.

On Twitter, an army of people despaired that this self-created persona of self-love had spilt over into destructive narcissism, and others disagreed with them, and it was all getting quite blocky and heated, so I did what any sensible person does when an intra-feminist battle blows up, which was to get the hell out of there.The taxonomies of a persons feminism are specific to ones age, race and class, which doesnt just mean some of us havent read Hannah Arendt and some havent read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; it means all our red lines, all our red rags, are different. The idea that it would ever be a feminist act to commodify your own sexuality is more than just illogical to me, it is traitorous. If each of us has a different route into feminism, a different intellectual lineage, then we all have different feminist priorities. But for some reason, variety hasnt encouraged pluralism, and what we see instead is a battle over orthodoxies that is humourless by definition.

With humour gone, were short on tolerance of hyperbole, and indulgence of youth. Young people take extreme positions. I remember going on a panel to argue that contraception was the most important medical development there ever was, even though one of the other categories was evidence-based medicine. But contraception wouldnt exist without an evidence base, my oppugner said mildly, and I replied, Screw you! Screw the patriarchy.

Mirthlessness brings a peculiar tone-deafness, so that we cant, intergenerationally, tell when someone else is joking, sincere, ironic or deadly serious. The Slumflower might be kidding; or she might be painting an elaborate hall of mirrors about the kind of person who thinks a woman might be thinking things like that about a man. In the aftermath of International Womens Day, I merely point out that its not all celebration and vagina-hats and consensus. It is hard work keeping a movement together: if youre not riven with self-doubt, frustration, confusion, rage, empathy, bafflement and the weight of your own ignorance most of the time, youre probably not doing it right.

Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist


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