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.
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.
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.
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. Read more »
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.
- 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. Read more »
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.
We are vacationing at our family’s cottage in the North Country of New York state. We have lots of time to cook and eat, and it’s actually been fun to focus a bit more on low-sodium meals. Our relaxed experience here may give us a leg up when we go home to our more crowded lives.
Our big sodium challenges continue to be crackers and bread. Otherwise, we are not using salt shakers, have cut down immensely on processed foods, and in some cases we have stopped adding any salt at all, even though the recipes call for minimal additions. We’ve also made some interesting and healthy food discoveries. Read more »
Read other Low Salt Journey installments: Senior Parents Get Started in Their 80′s: Part I, Hospital Cafeterias With No Low-Sodium Options? Part II, Making Sense of Sodium Labels and Numbers: Part III, and 5 Lessons Learned About Cutting Back on Sodium: Low-Salt Eating: Part IV.
I’ve already learned five lessons as my husband and I move along, with my parents, on this low-sodium journey.
#1. Look for canned diced tomatoes that have no salt, available at most groceries.
#2. Worry about the sodium in the processed foods — cereal, canned goods, pasta, cheese, snacks, and almost anything that comes as a mix, etc. Forget the counts for fresh foods for the time being. Read more »