Category Archives: Medications

Calculate Heart Attack Risk

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Do you know how these controllable risk factors affect your risk of heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome?

  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • being overweight or obese
  • physical inactivity

It’s essential that you measure your risk of heart disease and make a plan for how to prevent it in the near future. Use this tool to help you assess your risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease in the next 10 years. It will also check to see if you may have metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that greatly increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes. This Risk Assessment can be use by people age 20 or older who do not already have heart disease or diabetes.

After you have finished using the tool, you can print a copy of your risk assessment results, risk factor summary report, metabolic syndrome assessment and action plans for those areas you need to work on in order to reduce your risk.

Learn your Risk Graphic Text

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/HeartAttackToolsResources/Heart-Attack-Risk-Assessment_UCM_303944_Article.jsp

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Moving Forward

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It is amazing how quickly things can change. Hard to believe that 4 months ago I was in a bed in an ICU unit. If there was ever a testament to the power of healthy lifestyle changes, I would be it!

In 4 months I have managed to keep strong and clean my life of the toxins of alcohol, and cigarettes. I have improved the quality of my health through proper nutrition that includes low fat, low sugar and most importantly extremely low sodium. I have increased my ability to move and workout. In relation to that I have also lost 32 pounds, thanks to my new lifestyle!

My heart ejection fraction has improved from 20% to 35%! I no longer have trouble with dizziness and blurry vision when I walk. On the other hand I have been able to walk 1 mile every day in the last 2 weeks. Today was a test of my endurance, I increased my walk to 2 miles!! It was a push, but I did it! 

From not being able to walk to the mail box, to walking 2 miles in my rural area is a wonderful improvement! I am so amazed and proud of the changes I have made and the strength that I have found to not only keep it moving forward, but learn to love it!

Honey Mustard Dill Chicken

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I officially made it through the first week of school without any major problems. Adjusting to the extra work is harder then I thought, but it is all falling into place. I have managed to walk with my dog a mile every day. Tomorrow is the 1st, and I have planned to extend the walk to 2 miles! I have been doing the 1 mile walk for 2 weeks now, so I think I am ready to up the distance. I will take it easy, and of course have my phone, in case there are any problems. I am so happy with the progress I have made so far. I finally broke the 280 mark, my weight is down to 278. That is down 32 pounds from when I got home from the hospital January 6th. I have officially been free of alcohol, cigarettes, salt and caffeine for 122 days. Hard to think back to just one month ago, I could barely get down the driveway to the mail box. It is amazing what a difference good nutrition, good doctors,  positive attitude and a spiritual foundation can make! 

I have fallen behind on posting here, but I also have fallen behind on making fun food. Have to admit there have been a few nights of salads, and bowls of fruit. 

This meal however was super yummy, and pretty easy! 

Ingredients for 2 servings:

8oz boneless skinless chicken breast tenders

1tbsp Honey mustard

1 tbsp dill 

1tbsp greek yogurt

1 cup White rice

1 cup Summer squash slices

Mix the greek yogurt, dill and honey mustard together and coat the chicken tenders. Place in covered container in fridge and let flavors mingle for about an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375° place chicken tenders on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 min depending on size, turning once. Always cook chicken until there is no pink left in the middle.

The rice is just prepared as indicated on package, and topped with spray butter and pepper. The Summer squash is sliced about 1/2 inch thick and grilled in a skillet that has been sprayed with butter flavor cooking spray. I love the flavor of summer squash so I choose not to season them, just let the natural grilled flavor come through. This is one easy, healthy and low calorie meal.

Salt Substitutes

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I have had a few questions, and suggestions about Salt Substitutes. There is a few things to concider when you look into salt substitutes.  There are a range of substitute products

Salt consists of sodium chloride, and table salt often has iodine added in. Salt Substitutes are usually potassium chloride. There are also products like Morton’s Salt Lite that is a mix of sodium and potassium. When looking at the nutrition content in the 1/4 tsp serving of these products,

Salt (590mg sodium)

Diamond Crystal Salt Sense flake salt (390mg sodium)

Morton Salt Balance (440mg sodium, 200mg potassium)

Morton Lite Salt Mixture (290 mg of sodium, 350 mg potassium)

Morton Salt Substitute (0mg sodium, 610mg potassium)

Nu-Salt (0 mg sodium, 530mg potassium in 1/6tsp)

No Salt Original (0 mg, 650mg potassium)

lo-Salt (170mg sodium, 450mg potassium)

Biosalt (230mg sodium, 300mg potassium)

As you can see there is a lot of choices with a wide range of nutrition values. 

I had been wanting to do a seafood boil, since we live in Louisiana and it is crawfish season! I managed to find a no sodium liquid concentrate crab boil seasoning. This was a very happy find for me, since I previously thought boil was out of the question because the traditional Zatarain’s granulated boil seasoning has 5110mg sodium in 1/2oz. But the concentrate also calls for salt or salt substitute to be used. So, Of course, Just to be safe I asked my doctor about the use of substitutes when I saw him on Wednesday. This is the explanation I got from him regarding salt substitutes….

For some people, a salt substitute can be a good option for adding flavor to food without adding sodium. On the other hand, too much potassium can be bad too. Normally the body flushes out excess potassium through the kidneys, but people with certain medical conditions may have problems eliminating sodium which can lead to high potassium levels – a condition which can be dangerous. These include people with kidney disease, diabetes, and heart failure.

People who take certain medications are also at high risk of potassium imbalances if they use a salt substitute. These include certain blood pressure and heart medications. Even non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can contribute to potassium imbalances in people using salt substitutes. For this reason, anyone who has medical problems or is using a blood pressure medication, heart medication, or anti-inflammatory should consult with their doctor before using a salt substitute.

Basically as a person with heart failure I need to avoid the potassium just as much as the salt. Think about the fact that Potassium Chloride is the lethal of the drugs used in the lethal injection used on death row. Though death by potassium is not a common thing, but it is possible. An adult can have serious medical reactions including death from as little as 10 tsp of potassium chloride. There are also cases of infants stopping breathing and even death with as little as 3/4tsp. 

I do not use or recommend salt substitutes in any of my cooking. I prefer herbs and spices for flavor. As I have said before, it only takes about 3 weeks of no salt cooking for your taste buds and cravings to change, and you will not miss(and even grow to despise)the taste of sodium. 

**This post and all posts on this blog are by no means meant to make any medical recommendation or decisions for anyone. Always consult a physician before making any major changes in you diet or exercise routine.

Sources: Nu-salt, Morton Salt, Biosalt, Losalt, Alsosalt, Potassium risk assesment UKSodium and potassium intake and risk of cardiovascular events

Strength and Power

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Thursday turned out to be the most amazing day I could have had. After a long sleepless night, I went to the hospital for my scheduled Cardioversion. Frightened and shaking I was directed into a room to get in a gown and hair cap and wait to go to the ICU for the procedure. The nurse came in and put the IV in my arm, she then allowed my hubby and Mrs. Geneva to come in to wait with me. Soon after the man came in to do the EKG to make sure everything was ok to continue. 

After about 5 min, the nurse came back in and to all of our surprise, and great delight, the EKG showed a regular rhythm. She said the cardiologist would be in to talk to me in a minute.  When he came in, I am not sure who had a bigger smile, me or him. He explained that it seems my heart has converted itself out of A-fib. This can happen in some cases, and we just have to keep monitoring it, in case it goes back into A-fib.

Of all the scenarios that I had run through in my head, all the possible outcomes I had imagined, this was never one of them. Wednesday evening I made sure to call my grandmother and my mother for comfort, to both them and myself. I prayed to Jehovah for the strength to endure whatever lay ahead. I never ask him for anything unreasonable, or place any ultimatums on him. I know that in life things will happen that are not as we wish them to, so I try to always just simply pray for strength and wisdom. I find it unfair to ask him to “make sure things go alright”, mainly for the reasoning that there is no planning the outcome just strength in traveling the path.  

As I was getting ready to leave for the appointment on Thursday morning, the phone rang and Mrs. Geneva called to make sure all was going ok and that she would meet us at the hospital and her and her family were praying for me. She also was so happy to tell me that my hubby’s Uncle Sam had called her the night before. This was such a great thing to her because Sam is a teacher and Elder in New York at the Jehovah’s Wittiness Headquarters, for him to take the time to call her and thank her for all she had done for us was very special. We hadn’t talked to Sam in a few weeks so he didn’t know that I was going into the hospital the next day, until Geneva told him. Not even 2 minutes after I hung up from Geneva’s call, Sam called to let us know that he and his wife were praying for me and hoped all would be alright. immediately after that call, the state of Louisiana called to let me know that my medicaid was finally approved and that all my hospital bills, dated back to January 1st, would be covered. It was such a weight off my chest to know that the $24k in bills that have been haunting me were finally taken care of. 

On the ride to the hospital I thought about how amazing it was that, of all days for Sam to call and introduce himself to Geneva, he called the day before my Cardioversion. At just the right moment he was directed to call me that morning when I needed a little extra strength and love. The power of this simple action brought tears to my eyes. At that moment I was sure that everything was going to be ok, and that I was being surrounded with all the support I would need for anything that lies ahead.

Thanks to the outcome of the EKG, and my heart converting on it’s own, I was able to just get dressed and return home. This also gave me the ability to attend the Memorial for the Lord’s Evening Meal at the Kingdom Hall that evening. This was to be my first Memorial, as I have just began to study in the last year. I was rather disappointed when my Cardioversion was scheduled for the same day, but I found the procedure far to important to re-schedule. To my joy and amazement, I was blessed with the ability to attend in the end. I am constantly amazed at the changes in my life since I have opened up to the power and love of god.

Such a wonderful, strengthening and amazing series of events that happened. What a great testament to the path I have been traveling. What better solidification of daily strength to continue this fight to eat, and live healthy. if the last 3 months of this journey has been able to result in the my heart accomplishing a conversion on it’s own, what is next? I will be excited to see what the results of my next Echocardiogram are in a couple months, will my heart be stronger?

I thank god for the strength, the power and the love that has been injected into my life and continues to empower me every moment!

The Waiting Game…Again…

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Once again I am sitting around the house, waiting for my appointment for my Cardioversion. I feel like I am stuck in a Groundhog Day scenario. Wasn’t I just here? Waiting for Thursday to come?

I keep thinking about the procedure. How will I react to the Propofal? How will I feel afterwards? Will it work? If it works, will it last?

The cardiology team said that if we wait too long, there is less chance that they can convert me out of A-fib. I keep thinking back on the end of the year, before I ended up in the hospital. I was sick for months, getting progressively sicker. My A-fib was diagnosed on January 1st, but I was sick a lot longer, so there is no real telling exactly how long I have been in A-fib. What if it has already been too long? What if this doesn’t work? What is next if this doesn’t work?

I have found myself just staring at my laptop, not really doing anything productive, just stuck in a zone. I can’t seem to focus on anything.  I can’t seem to find anything to successfully distract me and pass the time.

So many questions, that have no answers, but to just wait and see what haqppens….please God let Thursday come and be a success.

Cardioversion

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Last weeks blood work came back perfect. My cardiology team thinks we finally have the right dosages on my medications. My blood pressure has come up a bit, I am sitting around 95/56 most days. This is an acceptable range to go ahead with the cardioversion that had to be postponed. The procedure is scheduled for Thursday the 5th at 1pm.

Unfortunately this conflicts with the memorial at the Kingdom Hall that evening, but I decided that my health is more important and the longer we wait the less chance this will work. So Thursday I will be praying to Jehovah that this works and helps to improve my life even more than it already has been.

Adventure Trying to Eat Out

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Had a busy day, out and about yesterday. Got lots of laundry done, Mrs. Geneva showed me where the Habitat for Humanity thrift store was, as well as the library. While we were in Covington we stopped at Piccadilly for lunch. The thought was that since this was a place that had a cafeteria style, you pick and choose the pieces of the meal you want, it should good choices of food for me to eat there.  Think again. Upon arriving the food smelled great, and the variety was wonderful. I went straight to the vegetable section to see what they had to offer, a lovely colorful array for choices, red potatoes, broccoli, corn, carrots, Lima beans, green beans.

I immediately notices that all the vegetable choices were all rather juicy looking pans. Now of course this could be from sauces, or just water and natural condensation from a steaming process, so I had to ask how they were prepared. Turns out most of the vegetables were cooked in a bacon base, and the others were cooked in a butter base. None of them were just steamed without any sauces or butters. So I explained to the woman that I am on a very low salt diet and need just plain vegetables with out any seasoning or sauces. She proceeded to shake her head and just plainly say “Well you best just go down to the salad then”. No offer to see if they could possibly steam me some thing, not a shred of interest in accommodating my needs, just a direction away from her section. 

So I proceeded down to the salads at the end. Now mind you, this is not a salad bar, this is a bin of lettuce and a bin of tomato and they put up a line of  little side dish bowls with a touch of lettuce 2 slices of tomato and then sprinkle with shredded cheese and bacon bits. Well again I can not just grab and go with cheese and bacon. So I ask this lady if it would be ok to get a little plate with 2 servings of just the lettuce and tomato, no cheese or bacon. She was nice and did this for me without hassle. I also noticed some little fresh fruit bowls, made sure they weren’t canned fruit in a syrup, and added them to my tray. They had no low sodium options for dressing, and you would have thought I was speaking Japanese when I asked if they just had plain vinegar, so i grabbed a couple lemon wedges from by the tea and called it a meal.  I grabbed a root beer at the end of the line, since it was the only non-caffeinated choice other than water. This little lunch cost me $7.50.

Lucky for me, I had a container Planters Nut-rition mixed nuts and some Trader Joe’s Plantain Chips in the car. So I topped my lettuce with a handful of those and my squeezed lemon and it made a tasty salad in the end. 

Now I don’t want this to discourage anyone into thinking that you can’t eat out and enjoy a meal with friends. You can! I had food that was needed to fuel my body for the rest of the afternoon, we had great conversation, we even ran into another member of our kingdom hall and had a nice talk with him as well. All in all it was a nice lunch. 

The lesson in all of this experience is the importance of asking questions, and not being afraid to find out how things are prepared.  I like to think of it in the same way as someone who has allergies, you would not take a chance that something was prepared with an ingredient that could send you into an allergic shock would you? In addition, just as someone with allergies would carry an Epipen, or a diabetic may have to take their Insulin with them when they go out, I like to make sure I have no salt snacks in my purse or car. This way I am never stuck without options of things to eat. To me it is no different, this is a part of my medical process, my food is a key ingredient in my recovery and is as valuable as any of my prescriptions. 

 

 

Busy, Busy, Busy….

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It has been a couple days since I posted, Sorry about that. I have been feeling much better the last few days since Dr. Hanna lowers some of my medication. I haven’t been getting dizzy and no blurry vision, YAY! My blood pressure is coming up a little, this morning I was up to 103/65, this is a huge improvement from the 64/44 i was at a week ago. I go do blood labs tomorrow, so we will find out how my kidneys react to the medication changes. I get short of breath really fast, and my heart races faster since the changes, but at this point I would rather breath heavy then not be able to see. I sure hope the blood pressure stabilizes soon and they can do the cardioversion. Then maybe I can have even less symptoms to deal with.

Since I have had more energy and the ability to move around more, I got some house cleaning done, some good grocery shopping done (I actually made it through the whole store without losing my vision) and been able to do some rearranging around the house. it feels so good to be able to get up and do something!

Saturday was weekly bible study, and Sunday I was well enough to get up and make it to the Kingdom Hall for Watchtower Study. I always feel so much better about my ability to fight this health battle when I get to make it to fill my spiritual plate. Just being around such positive people and learning all the great things the bible has to offer makes it easier to get through each week. I thank god all the time for each day I manage to get through with out a set back. It is certainly by the grace of god that I have had the strength to quit smoking, drinking, caffeine, and salt all at the same time. Many people struggle each day with just one of those battles, I have managed to endure all four battles for 86 days now. I know that I by no means have been fighting alone, and I appreciate it every day.

I am also very excited to say that I have enrolled in an online Bachelor degree program. Since my mother works for Charter College, I can use their family waiver program and complete my degree online for free. I figured that as long as I can’t work, and am stuck at home with all this extra time on my hands, I may as well be learning something. I decided on Business and technology. I will be learning things like computerized accounting systems, e-commerce, project management and employment law. I am a sick individual and these subjects all have me very excited.

I have a few things in the works in the kitchen, I will port them as soon as I get the last tweaking of preparation right. I also have had requests for a list of some of my favorite no sodium seasonings and spice mixes…these are also soon to come.

Hope you all had a blessed weekend

 

Missing Some Freedom

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Haven’t had much energy the last few days. It took all I had to write a post for you all yesterday. Just looking at the computer screen made my eyes strain and my vision go blurry. This is a problem I usually have when I get up and move around, this is the first time I have had it just sitting down. 

Been spending most my time in bed or on the couch this weekend. Hubby is great and won’t let me get up to do anything other than go to the potty. He is very worried, I can see it in his face. My blood pressure has been really low all weekend, averaging 75/44. The doctor has said on many occations that my low blood pressure is normal, dur to the medications I am on. Though it is usually low, this is a little lower than usual, so I have planned to make a call to my cardiologist tomorrow. 

We have adjusted my medication almost weekly, to try and get the right balance for my blood pressure, and my dizzy spells and vision problems. Eventually it has to all work out right. I just try to hold my head high and keep faith that it will all work out.

I really hope that the cardioversion takes care of some of these problems. It is so hard to be so young and full of energy, but not have the ability to get up and do all I want to do. Just the simplest activity and I start to lose my vision. It is like having a huge spotlight shinning in your face. Everything get’s super bright, and I can’t make out details on anything. I can see colors, but no faces, or specific shapes, I can’t read when it happens, and of course because of this I can’t safely drive anymore. 

It is hard to come to grips with the loss of such things. I have always been independent, I have always been the driver. From the time I started delivering pizza after high school, to the year trying my hand at cross-country truck driving, being behind the wheel has always been relaxing to me. Anytime I needed to relax I could just put on music and go for a drive. This has to be what I miss most. 

I was never a runner, of a sports player, or even an outdoor type person so it doesn’t bother me to much that the outdoors activities are so treacherous to me now. Just the fact that I can’t go off on my own and take a long country drive and clear my head…it isn’t the same when you have to be driven around. When you have a driver with you, it isn’t the same, you can’t just cry, or scream, or pray…you don’t have the freedom you do when it is just you alone.

This is what I honestly miss the most sometimes.