Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bring on the salt!

Well that was interesting! Over the past few months (okay years actually) I've had issues with tachycardia and becoming lightheaded, sweating and nearly passing out. This seems to be getting worse so I finally gave in last Friday and saw a doctor, yes despite working in medicine I avoid obtaining healthcare for myself! 

After some routine labs (all normal) which showed I am no longer anemic and my thyroid is finally at a good level, yay that doesn't happen often, got to love hypothyroid I was referred to a cardiologist. The appointment started as normal...EKG, orthostatic blood pressures which are low as always and a pulse of 50....and now wait for the doctor.

Enter the doctor and we run through symptoms, history, etc including my eating patterns and I mention I run and workout most days. We talk more he gives me his possible diagnosis ideas and starts to set up further tests as I ask "will there be any issue running?" And now it gets interesting...

"Well how much do you run?"

Me: "50-60 miles a week." 

Doctor is laughing! What? "You didn't tell you ran that much, well that changes everything."  He continued to go on about how much I ran and how that combined with my size, persistent low pulse and blood pressure were due to chronic dehydration and low sodium...

No wonder my sodium is low with all that salt sweated on my hat!

What?? I drink what feels like gallons of water a day. But my body just has a delicate fluid balance, now combine that with my extreme salty sweat and I am in trouble. So we put further testing on hold in exchange for get this...a high salt diet! What cardiologist prescribes that? I was told to focus on drinking enough to pee clear hourly and overdose on salt for a week or two and see how I feel. This is all great in theory but I am not a fan of salty foods. Today my grocery cart didn't look like my own...

Love the sweet potato chipotle hummus combo!

What is your favorite salty food? Bonus for healthy options!

33 comments:

  1. Daisy 2% cottage cheese has A LOT of sodium. I make a meal of it, take 1.5 cups of cottage cheese with some fruit and that gives me 1000 mg of sodium. Eggbeaters Original has almost 500mg per cup. When it's cool enough to want soup, one bouillon cube dissolved in a cup of hot water has 1200mg. Pickles (or anything pickled) would be salty. Olives would be good for the sodium and also for the healthy fat. I'm a very salty sweater, too, and I had a routine check-up the day after a 10-mile run in the Texas heat. My EKGs have always been normal, but this time they showed PVCs due to electrolyte imbalance. I was given the same instruction to increase my sodium intake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to add more pickles in my diet! I am dairy free, vegetarian so no broth or cottage cheese.

      Delete
  2. Wow! What a diagnoses! But understandable....I always have tons of salt on me after my long runs. I'd say pickles!!! I think they're salty??? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O loves pickles guess we need to stock up again!

      Delete
  3. Oh, I think I would have fun with that prescription! Chips are a guilty pleasure for me. I really like the sweet potato ones in your pic! Happy eating!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ramen noodles are really high in sodium :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I have touched those since college...lol Too bad I am gluten free or those would be a quick, easy lunch.

      Delete
  5. PRETZEL CRISPS and pretzels are my favorite healthy salt. Also...popcorn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Popcorn was my post run snack on Tuesday, yum!

      Delete
  6. I know EMZ (runEMZ) drinks pickle juice after runs and she runs 15-20 miles nearly every day. I think anything pickled would work. I think I'd go for that and olives. I'd have a hard time with this as I pretty much never use salt LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a friend who does that, not sure I'd be able to drink pickle juice, yuck!

      Delete
  7. Interesting... my dad has an eye disease where if he eats too much salt he'll literally go blind, so he's on the opposite end- but he used to eat 0 salt and was passing out all the time... our bodies know what they need!
    emma @ a mom runs this town

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. So true about our bodies, we just need to listen better!

      Delete
  8. I made two of my favorite salty snacks this week - kale chips and toasted pumpkin seeds, both healthy! :) Glad you got some answers, hope it makes a difference. I'd increase seaweed too- it's a great source of iodine which is now absent in our table salt. I really like dulse flakes- easy to add to veggies or any thai noodle dish!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I seem to be a kale chip failure, everytime I try something happens :( but love pumpkin seeds :) I didn't think of seaweed, I haven't used table salt in years (only sea salt) because I hated the iodine flavor.

      Delete
  9. The same thing happened to me but I'm hypothyroid now. I had the radio iodine treatment that killed my thyroid. Now, I'm on meds for the rest of my life. I wished I could have treated it with meds or food like soy and cruciferous vegetables. Could you find out if I could have treated hypothyroidism with food and drugs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too am stuck on meds and have a tough time regulating, I am trying foods but just doesn't seem to cut it!

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. I've never heard of it being possible to treat hyperthyroid w/ food & meds. The answer in any case I've looked at is always to reduce the thyroid activity by whatever means necessary, either RAI or surgery. (RAI is so weird, isn't it? I had it as part of thy ca treatment)

      Delete
    2. I haven't either, usually you need to decrease the activity. No idea and honestly never looked since I am hypothyroid and have always tried to speed my up!

      Delete
  11. I take salt pills. Have you tried something like that? I use Endurolytes and take them before, after, and during runs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did try them years ago and the taste made me gag! I drink Nuun but the dr said that's not enough sodium and I don't need all the electrolytes but I'm continuing with it anyways.

      Delete
    2. Couldn't the low HR, resting pulse and BP be somewhat due to your fitness as a runner? The dehydration may not be cured w/ just sodium, your body wants more balanced electrolyte profiles, in my understanding, to avoid just passing the fluids through.

      I use Endurolytes (2 caps 2/day, you won't taste) and find they help.

      As far as snacks, try Glutino pretzels (twists are ok but I like the sticks better) - plenty of salt and best pretzels I ever had, GF or not. Back when I was "just" GF (am now grainfree, dairyfree, low acid, Paleo) they were a go-to treat on long run days.

      Olives are a good idea. Check the sodium levels on tuna, sardines, artichoke hearts, canned veggies - instead of dumping the salty water and rinsing stuff off (as I do), make sure to use the liquid somehow too, whether you drink it (maybe in a smoothie) or make a sauce or just mix it in. Oh, and bacon, you have an excuse to eat bacon. :)

      Unless you're wanting to add sea salt to everything, it'll likely be easiest to increase sodium by going to processed foods more (does your doc care about the iodine in "regular" salt, as that's what's in processed foods usually, and iodine can affect thyroid, that's why they enrich in the first place). The usual high salt culprits are soups (though the GF ones tend to run lower) and frozen meals (same). If you can eat processed cheese and/or meat, check some of those and maybe choose the ones not marked "low sodium" or "no salt" if they're still safe/GF. You could also make marinades and sauces and include salt in them to get a little more. Good luck!


      Delete
    3. Yes, a lot of the HR and BP is due to me running which makes the fluid shifts more profound. My other electrolytes are normal on labs and I do replace these more readily but avoid salt simply because I don't really like it so that's the reason for the salt focus. I tent to avoid a lot of processed foods since the GF versions tend to be high $ and not great! I'm working on adding more sea salt to my foods as I cook. I'm veg so no bacon for me!

      Delete
  12. That is so interesting. I never would have expected a high salt diet. I'm a salty snack person. Give me salty over sweets any day. Love Food Should Taste Good multigrain tortilla chips. I hope increasing salt in your diet helps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that brand, just noticed Costco has those chips back and I love them :)

      Delete
  13. The Garden of Eden salted blue tortilla chips are really good! (I get them at whole foods). Maybe olives as well?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow! I actually had a similar problem once. I didn't know I should bring Nuun (or any electrolytes) with me when I first running long runs. I ended up getting sick/dizzy/dehydrated/confused on my first 12 mi run. I've since learned that it's important to get sodium/electrolytes. Enjoy eating salt! I love salty snacks, so that sounds awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far things are going well, focusing on sweet/salty combos and lots of fresh salsa and chips :)

      Delete
  15. My initial reaction as a dietitian would be that instead of adding processed food and having to switch your diet dramatically, wouldn't it be easier to simply create your own gatorad- type beverage for re-hydrating that is heavy in salt? (i.e. 1/2 tsp salt in 1 cup water and a splash of OJ or something). Would probably be a little icky but you can chug and be done with it. Or try those salt pills again like mentioned earlier?

    Do you have sense of how many grams of salt you are consuming a day? 2 G is considered low sodium, 4 G is typical American "too-high" amount...so I'm guessing they want you around 4 or maybe higher? I'm just curious about the specifics :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tracked for awhile and I was right around 1.5g so not even at the low sodium end, now we are aiming for closer to 4g while I am at higher mileage training. I've been better at grabbing things like salted nuts, adding salt to my foods that I make, etc and feel a little better.

      Delete