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Inner Beauty

Susan Sarandon Defies Hollywood by Aging Gracefully and in Great Health, from WebMD the Magazine

Maintenance Musts

Even with Sarandon's hectic, spontaneous schedule, she always finds time to walk on her treadmill.

"I realized that I had to find time for myself and started going to the gym," she says. Her personal trainer spices things up to help stave off boredom. "We use exercise balls or play catch with a heavy ball, as opposed to just getting on machines." Sarandon also does Pilates when she can, and has unsuccessfully tried yoga. "I must have type-A personality," she laughs. "I got so competitive that I hurt myself!"

Because Sarandon has a family history of high cholesterol and stroke, she took a cholesterol-lowering medication for two years. "I recently went off [of it] and am trying to use psyllium and other colon cleansers to bring [my cholesterol] down naturally." Psyllium, a soluble fiber used in laxatives, has been shown to help lower cholesterol moderately. However, colon cleansing is considered by most doctors as an alternative approach not yet supported by scientific study.

While she has not yet had a cholesterol test to see if her new regimen is working, it's her top priority after her current film project wraps.

Heart disease, however, isn't her only health concern.

Sarandon had a breast cancer scare years ago when doctors found a calcium deposit in her breast. She underwent a biopsy to have it removed. It was benign, as calcifications often are, but "now I have breast checks every three months," she says.

There's no clear consensus by medical experts on the best timing for mammogram screening. Most experts recommend that women in their 20s and 30s get breast exams by their health providers about every three years. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year, and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. Women with increased risk of breast cancer (family history, genetic tendency or past breast cancer) should work with their doctors to determine the best screening regimen for them. And all women should conduct regular self-exams.

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