M49 — December 2012 — Holiday Heart
Intro: Cookies, candy, eggnog and gravy. Those are some of the goodies we often can't resist at holiday gatherings. But for patients with an underlying heart condition, such as heart failure, a few days of eating the wrong foods can cause some real problems. And Mayo Clinic doctors say it's common for hospital admissions for these people to go up during the holidays. Here are some tips on how to stay heart healthy this season.
Not long ago, untangling these holiday lights would have been too much for Ed Browne.
"I was just dragging I had no energy."
He had blockages in four coronary arteries. Three of them were opened in a by-pass operation. Now, he feels…
"Great, really great."
But the key to Ed's 'feeling great' during the holidays is to manage stress, exercise and eat right.
"The main thing I have to look for is not to have more than 2,100 milligrams of salt a day."
"It can be quite a sodium load with a couple of bad meals."
Dr. Margaret Redfield is Ed's cardiologist. She says he's doing very well. But for some people, especially those with significant heart failure, too much salt could land them in the hospital.
"When they eat a lot more salt, they will retain more fluid and that their heart can't handle that and so the extra fluid can back up in their lungs and make them short of breath and back up in their body and cause swelling, edema, abdominal distension."
Dr. Redfield has some tips on how to stay heart healthy during the holidays. Number one: Watch your salt.
"70-percent of the salt that we take in is not from the salt shaker. So it's in canned foods or people adding salt when they cook."
If you're at a friends or relatives, speak up and ask how much salt is in the food they prepared. Or tell them ahead of time that you're on a salt restricted diet. Number 2: Stick with your recommended exercise routine. If you can't, try to fit in a walk or activity that gets you moving. Number 3: Don't try to do too much. It's ok to say no. And Number 4: If you have doctor's appointments during the holidays, keep them. Don't put them off until afterwards.
Ed follows these tips, and plans to remain heart healthy this holiday season.
For Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Vivien Williams.
Dr. Redfield says if you do run into trouble over the holidays, it's important to seek proper medical care.
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