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How Long Will You Live?
How Long Will You Live? Revisited RTÉ One, Tuesday 8.30pm

Series 3: Programme 8

Gaye Healy

Watch Programme 8 here...

Tonight's programme features 29 year old Gaye Healy from Dublin. Gaye suffers from Lupus, a chronic disease which affects the immune system. Also, as a busy primary school teacher, Gaye struggles to eat healthily and keep fit. As she approaches her 30th birthday she wants to improve her lifestyle and add years to her life. Dr Mark encourages her to improve her diet, take up some exercise and make time to relax. But will this be enough to help Gaye boost her life expectancy and improve the quality of her life?

Seven years ago Gaye was diagnosed with Systematic Lupus Erythematosus. Usually known as Lupus, it's a disease that can cause the body's immune system to attack healthy tissues. Gaye does have good days but often she feels tired and wiped out. There is no known cure for lupus but Gaye's symptoms are managed by a team of doctors and a daily cocktail of different drugs. Lupus has the potential to affect all the body's major organs but if it's properly managed then it's rarely life threatening.


Results after first medical and fitness tests:

Blood Pressure 160/90
Healthy Level < 140/80

Evidence of SLE arthritis

Cholesterol 6.7 mmol/l
Healthy Level below 5

If the illness is properly managed then Lupus sufferers can expect to live to a normal life expectancy.


8 Week Plan

  • Cut out high fat, high salt convenience foods
  • Prepare meals from fresh ingredients
  • 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • 30 minutes moderate exercise 5 times a week

Business consultant An Coppens wants Gaye to be more aware of how she can manage her time and illness. If Gaye can organise her time when she feels well she will be better prepared to look after her body when the fatigue really kicks in. An asks Gaye to create a 'barometer' which measures how well she is feeling. For each number Gaye is asked to assign a set of tasks, from shopping to preparing meals (to freeze and use on days when she's feeling too tired to cook). An's hoping a chart like this will motivate Gaye when she is well and stop her feeling pressurised when she is not.


BMI 37 (previously 38)
Weight Loss 6kg
Blood pressure 155/90 (previously 160/90)
Cholesterol 4.2 (previously 6.7)



Irish Lupus Support Group -

Lupus Erythematosus usually appears in one of two forms: Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (the skin form, called discoid LE) or Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (the internal form, called systematic LE or SLE). Neither form is contagious.
Discoid LE has a particular type of skin rash with raised, red, scaly areas, often with healing in the centres. These rashes are seen most commonly on the face and other areas exposed to light. Usually patients with Discoid LE have normal integral organs.

Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (or SLE) is classified as a rheumatic disease in the same family as Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is a long-lasting systematic inflammatory disease, which causes changes in the blood vessels and connective tissue.

It causes damage to the structure of the organs and how they function - organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. It can also affect the joints, muscles, skin, nervous system and also the digestive system.


Useful Information

Health Screening
Eccles Street, Dublin 7
01 885 8888

An Coppens
Business Coach
B/right Business Coaching
Unit 14
Penrose Wharf
Penrose Quay
021 486 1391

The Auburn Medical Centre
Castleknock, Dublin 15

Margot is a consultant dietitian and nutritionist. She works privately and also with the IRISH NUTRITION AND DIETETIC INSTITUTE.
INDI, Ashgrove House, Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin.
Tel: 01 280 4839

Dublin SPCA Dogs and Cats Home
Mount Venus Road
Dublin 16
Tel: 493 5502 / 4
Fax: 493 7674

Powerscourt Springs Health Farm
01 276 1000

Gaye Healy
Gaye Healy
Gaye Healy with Dr Mark
Gaye Healy with Dr Mark