Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - GMC - 31

31

Hold the Salt, Help Your Heart
Chances are, you're eating
too much sodium. And
it's not just a problem for
people with heart failure.
It's a problem for everyone.
Sodium contributes to
high blood pressure, which
is a risk factor for heart
disease and stroke.
The American Heart
Association recommends
people consume no more
than 2,300 milligrams of
sodium each day, and people with heart failure are
advised to stick to lower
levels-up to 1,500 milligrams a day, an amount
found in just two-thirds of
a teaspoon of table salt.
Despite these recommended limits, Americans
eat more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day.
Although sodium naturally
occurs in some foods, like
celery and milk, most of
it comes from processed
foods and restaurant
meals, not the saltshaker.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SANDI HOLLOWAY

Want to
Know
More About
Heart Health?

To find practical steps for
keeping all of the hearts
in your family healthy,
check out the numerous
resources available at
everydaywellness.org.

Learning to Listen
to My Heart

I often talk with other heart failure
patients about the importance of
taking care of yourself, but I haven't
always followed my own advice.

In 2018, when my dad was
dying from an aggressive form
of bladder cancer, I took care of
him and did his hospice care. It
took a toll on me.
I started gaining weight again. I
wasn't feeling great. And I was short
of breath. It turns out I was having
episodes with the heart failure, but I
was thinking it was the weight gain.
So I would try to work out and end
up thinking I had the flu.
One day, I was in the kitchen
talking with my husband, and I
started getting confused, and my
words stopped making sense. So my
husband called 911, and I went back
to the hospital in an ambulance.
I underwent more testing, and
when I left the hospital, I had to do

"Lowering sodium intake
is obviously important for
people with heart failure
and high blood pressure,
but it's also essential for
those with osteoporosis or
kidney stones," says Khalid
Hayat, MD, a cardiologist
at Northside's Gwinnett
Consultants in Cardiology.
If you're looking to cut
down your sodium, here
are three tips:
At the grocery store:
Read nutritional labels.
Many processed and packaged foods contain high
levels of sodium, so be
sure to check the nutrition
information and opt for
lower-sodium options.
At home: Cook with
onions, garlic, spices, herbs
and citrus to add flavor
instead of relying on salt.
At restaurants: Avoid
foods with words like pickled, brined, cured, smoked,
soy sauce and miso, as they
tend to be high in sodium.

physical and occupational therapy
and work with my medical team to
find the right balance of medications to treat my symptoms.
Since then, I've been doing
better-even if it's taken me longer
than I might have liked to get there.
I have really beautiful things
in my life. I have my wonderful
husband, daughter and son. I
have a great support system in my
family, friends, and the network
of volunteers and fellow heart failure patients I've met through the
American Heart Association. I've
found lots of joy in gardening.
For me, planting is amazing,
because you can see something
grow, and it's so exciting, because
it's new and it's life. *
VIM & VIGOR SUMMER 2020

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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - GMC

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