This is a news headline I saw on Easter Sunday after I returned home from a beautiful Easter Day and dinner with my son and his family. The centerpiece of the meal was a beautiful baked ham. Catching up on some news, I read the following headline from a Bloomberg Business article.
“Diets High in Sodium Are Really Bad for Americans” by Alexandre Tanzi from an article on Bloomberg Business
Seemed like a scary headline when I saw it. Wasn’t it sugar, anything white like bread, fatty foods, that was the bad choice?
Directly from the article:
I looked for Bible verses on health. I found a source that led me to 27 Bible verses. Here are two which you may have heard:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. —1 Corinthians 6:19-20
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31
I have struggled with being overweight for a lot of my life, mid 40’s on. My dad’s genes! I lost two inches in height and I am short anyway. Did I not drink my milk? And other reasons! Recently I took the Diabetes Prevention Class. I do not have diabetes now but when I spoke with my doctor she advised me to lose weight. Marjorie Henkemeyer, parish nurse at St. Joseph Parish in St. Joseph, was the first parish nurse to host this class in her church. The goal was to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. All of those who attended her class lost weight and reduced risks for heart disease and diabetes. I actually took it all of last year as it is a year-long coaching program. It is an Evidence Based Class that is promoted by the Minnesota Council on Aging. Meaning the program has been successful. So in an effort to prevent diabetes and high blood pressure, I told my doctor I was taking the class. I needed something structured. The program promises change including weight loss. For 12 weeks I went to class every Monday. Then every two weeks, and then monthly for one year. I was with a group of nine who worked on this and the group meetings and support were great incentive to me. I was able to lose weight by making some changes in my eating habits and increase exercise. My doctor high-fived me! Most mornings I eat oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, or shredded wheat. That meal is easy! That was a change from “anything” that I learned in class. I meet with some neighbors each weekday at 9:30 to walk for a half hour. I like to walk with someone as it motivates me. *Also, I use my prayer time to add to my need to have concrete help with my health. Mind, Body, Spirit needs, right?
Several of the Faith Community Nurses are leaders of this class and even if you do not have a Faith Community Nurse to help you, we now have a state website where you can choose a class by putting in your zip code to find it and other classes going on in your area and sign up at Your Juniper, a site that the MN Council on Aging started: https://yourjuniper.org/ Some Parish Nurses in Little Falls are working on an Evidence Based Class now for your area, A Matter of Balance, which is a falls prevention class. The first one organized by Parish Nurses at Our Lady of Lourdes is full so they are trying to host another one at First Lutheran. All faiths are welcome at either church for the class as they are doing a community collaboration with Catholic Charities class teachers.
Blood pressure is affected by salt and weight and if we use too much salt over time and are overweight over time, we can develop high Blood Pressure. Prevention which is based on healthy choices can be a goal from birth. *Your Faith Community Nurse can help you with information as well as your doctor and a dietitian. Dr. Michael Beste from the CentraCare Health-Melrose Clinic wrote an article on high blood pressure and gave me permission to share it and said “the more people know, the better they can make decisions about their health.” Thank you, Dr. Beste!
By Michael Beste, MD
CentraCare Health – Melrose Clinic
A little over a year ago, the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Medical Association updated their blood pressure recommendations. As a result, millions of Americans who previously were considered as having “prehypertension” are now identified as having high blood pressure. To view the updated categories, see the table below.
In a world where medical news always is changing, it’s easy for patients to be confused about what this change means and what to do about it. Here are a couple of immediate takeaways:
1. High blood pressure remains a serious problem. Having high blood pressure increases your risk of having a heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure and kidney disease. It also can cause vision loss or sexual dysfunction in both men and women.
2. High blood pressure is common. Nearly half of American adults have the condition.
3. Many with high blood pressure are unaware they have it. This is the case in about 20 percent of those with the condition. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it doesn’t have any warning signs. And the damage it causes to your body is often not reversible. The only way to know if you have it, is to take your blood pressure regularly.
4. Genetics and age play a role in having high blood pressure. High blood pressure runs in families and, in general, one’s blood pressure rises as you get older.
5. But there’s lots you one can do to control your blood pressure. Smoking, not having a healthy diet, consuming alcohol and not exercising also increases your risk of having high blood pressure. Making healthy changes in your lifestyle to lessen or eliminate these can make a big a difference in lowering your risk.
6. Reducing the amount of sodium (salt) you consume also can make a big difference in reducing high blood pressure. The AHA recommends people eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily, but the average American exceeds that amount by more than 1,000 each day. Being mindful of the amount of salty foods you eat and reducing them from your diet. The following foods are some of the most common sources of salt.
· Breads and rolls
· Cold cuts and cured meats
7. Knowing what your blood pressure is and consistently checking it is important. Whether it’s going to your health care provider’s office, checking it at the grocery store and/or buying a monitor for your home — there’s lots you can do to so you “know your numbers.”
8. Talk with your health care provider if you have a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease or if you have been identified as having high blood pressure. Together you can work with your provider to make a plan to help you improve.
9. If you have been identified as having high blood pressure, your provider still may not necessarily use medications to treat it. Depending on your individual health, your provider may opt for just making lifestyle changes and monitoring changes over time. But you won’t know unless you make an appointment to see your provider.
10. Getting an annual physical exam can help detect changes in your health, including if you have developed high blood pressure.
Health information accessed through www.centracare.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health.