Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stress, Food Choices, Exercise, and Health

by Pa Rock

(This posting will be another on my medical trials and tribulations, so if you've had enough of that - stop here and check back tomorrow.)

Three months ago I started visiting an endocrinologist who took on the task of revamping my diabetes-fighting regimen through new medications and education.  His efforts were producing good results up until the point that I mentioned that I sometimes had trouble getting enough air while walking on the treadmill.  The doctor, being very smart, immediately referred me to a cardiologist, and after several tests I was told that I would have to undergo open heart surgery.

That bit of news produced an immediate rise in my stress level, and my diabetes numbers began spiraling out of control.  The endocrinologist told me that was due to stress and basically I would have to live with it until after the surgery.

During the several post-operative days that I spent in the hospital my blood sugar numbers were always above 190 and went over 300 on a few occasions.

I am home now.   Nick and I have been learning about heart healthy foods, and he has made some wonderful meals.  Today we went grocery shopping and spent quite a bit of time reading labels.  We were seeking low sodium for heart health and low sugar to fight the diabetes.  Needless to say, options are limited.  I learned, for example, that microwave meals which advertise themselves as "healthy," basically aren't.  We did stock up on Mrs. Dash for seasoning, some fish and shrimp, dark meat  chicken (which Nick boils and then bakes), and some terrific frozen fruit bars.  I also found some very low sodium chips and cookies that met both the sugar and salt requirements.

My friend Mike, who had a major heart episode a couple of years ago, has given me some recommendations on what I need to be eating, but I would appreciate all suggestions of low sodium, low sugar, edible items.  I don't want to spend my remaining years being bored with meals.

I am also exercising daily as part of the heart recuperation.  This morning I walked a long block around my neighborhood, and this afternoon I went shopping with Nick and did a lot of walking through three different stores.   I also had a visit from a traveling physical therapist who showed me some simple exercises.  My breath increases daily from all of this activity - exactly what the heart doctor wanted to happen and what my tired old body needs.

And the blood sugars?  Yesterday morning was 207.  I forgot to take one yesterday evening, but this morning it was 122, and this evening 118.

I am beginning to experience some success due to the above changes - and with the love and support of my children, sister (and her adult children), and friends.  Thank you all.

Our health is controllable to an extent - if we choose to control it.  If you are healthy, stay that way.  If you aren't healthy - change your lifestyle!

It's not always fun, but it is simple.

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

I forgot to mention, but shredded wheat has zero salt, until you put the milk on it. That's right, they salt the milk. Salt is hidden everywhere!