Don’t Forget About Your Blood Pressure

Over at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the Vital Signs September 2012 issue focuses on controlling good pressure. The article, Getting Blood Pressure Under Control: Many Missed Opportunities to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke, explains that many people are not treating their blood pressure and many others are taking medication but not monitoring enough to know that the treatment is not effective.  Adult children and their aging parents need to monitor blood pressure.

To make the point that people of all ages need to tune in about blood pressure issues, the Vital Signs feature includes some terrific graphs such as the one I’ve reproduced below.

Does High Tech Mean a Better Outcome?

Download a PDF.

Many of our aging parents live with heart issues, and making treatment decisions is not easy. Weighing all the evidence is especially difficult when we must decide between a high-tech, surgical procedures (heart bypass surgery or cardiac catheterization) or medications combined with lifestyle changes, and it’s even more confusing when both of these treatment options have similar outcomes. Somehow, no matter whose health we are considering, state-of-the-art seems to reach out to us.

Check out Costly Heart Procedures Thrive in Some Places, Despite Cheaper Alternatives over at the NPR Shots blog. The post describes a Michigan research study that examines why some physicians continue to perform expensive heart procedures even though better and less expensive options, with similar outcomes, are available.

The data suggest an association between the increased number of cardiac catheterization labs and increased use of intervention procedures.

Take a few minutes to look over the interesting graphs and charts at the study site. Or download a PDF of the research findings.

You can also learn more about how one hospital changed its practices by listening to this May, 3, 2012 audio clip from the American Public Media radio program, Marketplace.

Figuring Out How to Adjust a Much-loved Thanksgiving Recipe, Low Sodium Diet, VIII

Recap: My dad has congestive heart failure, so he is on a low sodium diet. My husband and I decided that we too could join my parents’ adventure with low-sodium eating.  I’ve been posting occasional updates about our experiences (read my first low-sodium post in the series).

My Thanksgiving 2011 stuffing experiment is working! We have a slow cooker/crock pot full of stuffing, somewhere between eight and ten  servings. We haven’t sat down to eat Thanksgiving dinner yet, but everyone has tasted the stuffing and given a thumbs up.

Here’s what I did. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Stuffing: Low Sodium Diet # VII

My croutons bagged and ready for stuffing duty.

I am aiming to prepare a low-sodium Thanksgiving dinner.

I’ve just read an article, Experts Warn: Thanksgiving Poses Hidden Sodium Dangers, describing the dangers of stealth sodium in Thanksgiving foods. The Associated Press article, which appeared in NJ.com points out that people can reach and exceed the appropriate daily sodium intake just in the one holiday meal. A big thank-you to my cousin, Sandy, for sending me the link.

To get started, I’ve ordered a free-range turkey. It’s organic and not brined. I’ll find out exactly how much sodium it contains, but I’ve been told by Whole Foods that it will be on the low-end.

Continue reading

We Kept to the Lower Sodium Program on Vacation: Low Sodium Diet #VI

Our family vacation lasted nearly ten days, and  all four of us, sometimes five, stayed on our low-sodium eating plan the whole time by doing the following.

  • We planned our lunch and dinner menus.
  • We kept lots of fruit and nuts around. I stored a small measuring cup with the nuts so that whenever a family member took a handful, it was possible to quickly measure the correct portion. A bowl of watermelon is always available in our fridge.
  • We ate out in restaurants several times and did not try to regulate ourselves that much, but most of us found the soups to tastes way too salty.
  • On a regular basis, now, someone in the family comments on the extreme saltiness of certain foods. Cheeses, especially, taste salty. Continue reading

Golf Carts Drive Off-Course, but Not By Seniors

Why do people who could (and should) be walking spend so much time in golf carts? Our wonderful cottage community is a delightful place to live with amazing and thoughtful people who come from near and far to spend time each summer. I think that it is one of the most pleasantly walkable places on earth. But golf carts, with their dust and fumes and unmonitored speeds, are frustrating, and I’ll state right up front that this problem exists in a lot of places, not just where we vacation.

Don’t get me wrong. If one of my parents, now 83 and 88, had a lot of difficulty walking or became disabled and therefore required a golf cart to move around our little community, I’d rent one in a flash. Moreover, just last week my dad needed an ambulance, and I am grateful that rescue squad volunteers used their golf carts to get to him as fast as possible.

Continue reading