Thursday, August 30, 2012

Migraines and Salt Intake

Many people do not realize the effects that salt has on their bodies. After I had my heart attacks in October of 2009, I had to go on a low salt diet, as do all heart patients. Within months, I realized that the migraines that plagued me since I was five years old were suddenly gone.

Migraines had affected me since I was a child. These migraines occurred at least three times a month and sometimes they landed me in the hospital. When I was about thirty-five, I learned that processed foods made these headaches worse so I cut back on those foods.

For instance, I cut back to two hot dogs at a cook out and I had a slight headache not that raging one I had when I ate three. In the summer time at cookouts, I would eat three grilled hotdogs but I rarely ate them other times in the year. I did eat a lot of cheese and sandwich meat because it was cheap, as a single mom, I pinched pennies.

After the heart attacks, I began reading labels to make sure I was staying on the low salt diet. Cold cuts, hotdogs, sausage, and cheese went off my diet for the most part, because they were high in sodium. The benefit for me was lower blood pressure and the migraines virtually disappeared. I have had a few since then but they are very rare and always occur after I splurge on sodium-laden foods.
Occasionally when I will eat too much salt, the migraines come back because the blood pressure goes up. I can feel it. Most of us do not realize the effects that our food intake does to our bodies.

Unfortunately, after some people have heart attacks they still did not limit the salt and their blood pressure remains high. Therefore, they have recurring heart attacks. I am very careful about what I put in my body. I am anal about salt intake because I am scared to death to have another heart attack.

I am very careful when I go out to a restaurant. I order baked chicken or a chef salad, but the heavily seasoned items are off my list of eatable foods. Instead of the beer battered Haddock I love, I opt for baked fish which is lightly seasoned and not breaded. I choose a baked potato instead of the French fries, which are usually salted before they come from the kitchen.

For picnics or parties where there is a wide array of food, I will always go for the plain looking foods. I also make a low salt dish to pass so that I know at least there is one thing I can eat. Being on a low salt diet does not mean I have to eat bland food or go hungry. It simple means I need to make better choices and if this means I get the added bonus of the rare migraine it is a great choice.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Breast Self Exams Are Critical to Your Health

Performing self breast exams should begin when a woman is in her twenties according to the website. Early detection could save your life, that's why it is so important for all women to check their breast on a monthly basis beginning at age 20. This allows you to become familiar with your breast and make it easier for you do detect changes if there are any.

There are 3 ways to do a self breast exam looking in the mirror, while showering, and of course laying flat on your back and feeling the breast. The WebMD site explains why you need to perform all of these ways of examining the breasts. Simply the breasts look and feel different in different positions.

In the mirror: Look
Stand in front of a mirror topless in a well lit room.
Examine your breasts visually, first with arms at your sides. Next place your hands firmly on your hips and tighten your chest muscles. Then bend forward in the mirror allowing your breasts to fall. Now place your heads behind your head and check your nipples from side to side. Also look at the undersides of your breast, lifting them if necessary.

In the shower: Feel
Check armpits are breasts for any lumps or thickenings. Examine your chest area from bra line to collarbone. Raise one arm over your head and use the other hand to examine the opposite breast. Use an up and down motion from bra line to collarbone and repeat on the other side.

Lying down: Feel in a circle
Lie down and place one arm behind your back and use the other hand to examine the other breast using a circular motion. Start at 12 o'clock and move toward 1 o'clock in small circular motions.

Continue around the entire circle until you reach 12 o'clock again. Keep your fingers flat and in constant contact with your breast. When the circle is complete, move in one inch toward the nipple and complete another circle around the clock. Feel the entire breast. Make sure to feel the upper outer areas that extend into your armpit for any lumps or thickenings. Also push gently on your nipple, it should easily be moved.

It's recommended to do a self breast exam monthly, usually a few days after your period or the first of the month if you no longer menstruate. Remember to report any changes to your doctor as soon as possible. Not all lumps are cancer but early detection is crucial if it is. You can sign up for free email reminders of when to do your monthly exams at the Bright Pink website.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Health Benefits of Walking Groups

There are many benefits of participating in walking groups. Walking in groups will help with weight loss, cardiovascular health, and overall health. It also can help you to be less lonely by forming new friendships or even romantic relationships.

Improving cardiovascular health is a benefit of walking groups. Getting out there and doing simple walking revs up your heart at a safe level. With the walking group, you have people around you who can help if God forbid you have another heart attack. There is bound to be someone who is walking for the same reason, and you can share experiences and help one another in your quest to stay heart attack free.

Weight loss is a great benefit of walking groups. The weight will not melt off overnight, because it was not put on overnight. However, with each step, a tiny percent will fall off, and soon you will see the changes in weight that you are looking for. Start slow and keep the distance to where it is comfortable for you. Each day increase your speed or distance and those weight loss changes will occur quicker than you can imagine.

Forming friendships that are lasting is a benefit of waling groups. People who are walking usually have the same type of goals from this form of exercise and those goals will form friendships.

Healing from bad romantic relationships is a benefit of walking groups. Some may wonder about this one, but think about it if you join any type of group or change your habits you are more likely to heal from bad relationships quicker. Walking in groups will help you heal quicker because you are meeting new people and getting back into the swing of life.

Depression affects many people, and one of the best things you can do is get out and meet new people who will uplift you and make you feel better within. Healing in walking groups is a great benefit of walking groups. No one has to know you are depressed, so it will be more comfortable for you. The sunshine will also lift your spirits.

It is widely known that there is strength in numbers. Walking in groups will speed things along in emergencies. In the case of young women or older kids who often walk alone, walking with partners will decrease the likelihood of crimes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Find Walking Partners with These Ideas

Walking is great for your health in many ways. Walking alone for your health is never a good idea. Here are some ways to find someone to walk with.

When the weather is nice it is the perfect time to get out there and walk. However, health patients or people who have mobility problems feel more comfortable walking with other people. It is hard at times to get someone in your household to walk with you.

Still if you are walking to lose weight or otherwise walking for your health, you need to get out there and walk. Walking alone can be boring or even dangerous to some of us. Heart patients may have a heart attack so they should not walk alone, and neither should teenage girls for obvious reasons.

The answer of course is to organize a walking group with people who wish to walk for the same reasons. Many large cities have groups that meet in parks to walk, but for those of us who live in small towns or rural areas the groups are nearly non-existent.

You could hang a sign in a convenience store asking for walking partners but that does not always work out as planned.

You could create a Facebook walking group for your area and announce it to people in your local area. Those Facebook groups are perfect for many things and creating on for this purpose may be just the perfect thing for your needs. Just make sure your group has your purpose, town, and state so others can find you.

The Facebook group not only allows you to set up the arrangements as far as time and distance, and location, you also see the faces of those who also wish to walk. You form bonds in these types of groups so it is like walking with an old friend in some cases.

Set up nightly walks at a public place. Locally our high school leaves the track around the football field open. While the mile long oval may be boring to walk alone it is safe from vehicles so walkers may use headphones. It is always better to walk in there with someone who is walking for the same reasons, because you will have something to talk about. Who knows you might even strike up a friendship as you walk and that is always a good thing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Migraines, Blood Pressure and Salt Intake

If you are experiencing migraine headaches which are limiting your daily activities, and medications do not seem to help, I may have the solution for you. This is my personal observations over the years, as I have been suffering from migraines since I was five years old.

When I was growing up I had the usual childhood, ate the same things my siblings ate, yet the food did not affect us all the same. Three out of seven siblings got migraine headaches that bothered us to various degrees. I was the only one that was hospitalized for a migraine that lasted a week, but the three of us who suffered had numerous doctor visits.

I suffered three heart attacks within four days shortly after I turned forty-three and I began to watch what I ate. I was put on a low salt diet, as are most heart patients. It is commonly known that salt will increase blood pressure and if you have a high enough blood pressure, you have either a stroke or a heart attack.

I took my diet seriously and counted the milligrams of salt I consumed. I used a plain sheet of paper and wrote down the numbers I got from reading sodium levels on packages. I gave up foods, which seemed to have high amounts of sodium such as cheese and processed foods.

I also switched to sea salt that was recommended. What I learned is sea salt has just as much sodium as regular table salt has in it.. A quick read of labels on the grocery shelf will show that information. It is in your best interest to read every label that goes in your cart, no matter what product you are buying in the grocery store.

Before long the first anniversary of my heart attacks was coming around, and I realized that it had been over a year since I had a migraine. I realized that for myself there was a direct correlation between salt intake and migraines. As long as I keep my sodium intake below that limit of 2,000 milligrams, the headaches stay away. One those rare days when I have too much sodium I will get a migraine headache complete with the vomiting, sensitivity to light and of course the pounding headache.