From Veterans’ Day Salt To Dense Breasts

Veterans’ Day is observed today, although it was technically yesterday.  People here in Arizona take their veterans seriously.  For example, Texas Roadhouse offers the proverbial free lunch (even though we all know these patriotic men and women have already paid the price) for veterans.    

Bear is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel – addressed as Colonel by military personnel – so we partook. There were so many discussions around us about where the veterans had been stationed or seen action.  What most impressed me is that an employee, a veteran himself, went from table to table to personally thank the other veterans.

As a chronic kidney disease patient, I usually avoid this particular restaurant chain due to their heavy use of salt. I already knew they salted the French fries as they left the kitchen, so I simply ordered a Cesar salad sans dressing and croutons as my side and ate very little of the full fat, full sodium Parmesan cheese topping my iceberg lettuce.

The cheeseburger was a bit of a surprise.  I rarely eat meat preferring ground turkey, which I buy 99% fat free. As for the cheese, they were perfectly willing to switch cheddar for the usual American. This was also full fat, full sodium but I wasn’t concerned because I only planned to eat half of this 8 ounce burger, which meant only half the cheese, too.

What I hadn’t figured on was the steak seasoning.  I never use salt so when I took my first bite, it tasted as if I’d taken a bite out of some  cow’s errant salt lick. The waitress must have seen the look on my face.                   

I didn’t want to cause a fuss because the place was jam packed.  Unbeknownst to me, the waitress told the manager who came over and insisted he make me a new burger without any seasoning.  How kind of him… and I hadn’t even mentioned that I have ckd.

So let’s hear it for Texas Roadhouse for both their respect for veterans and the ease with which they accommodate food restrictions.

Keeping it salty today (Get it? Sodium? Salty?) MedicineNet.com has an article about six top sources of sodium at: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=164822#.UJyT0_ncLdE.email.

1. Bread and rolls – One piece of bread can have as much as 230 mg of sodium. That’s 15% of the recommended daily amount. Although each serving may not sound like much, it can quickly add up throughout the day, with toast at breakfast, a sandwich at lunch, and a roll at dinner, etc.

2. Cold cuts and cured meats – Deli or pre-packaged turkey can have as much as 1,050 mg of sodium. It’s added to most cooked and processed meats to reduce spoilage.

3. Pizza – One slice can have up to 760 mg of sodium. That means two slices accounts for a day’s worth of salt.

4. Poultry – Packaged raw chicken often contains an added salt solution. Depending on how it’s prepared the sodium level can quickly add up. Just 3 ounces of frozen and breaded chicken nuggets contains about 600 mg of sodium.

5. Soup – This cold-weather staple can contain a day’s worth of sodium in a single bowl. One cup of canned chicken soup can have up to 940 mg of sodium.

6. Sandwiches – Breads and cured meats are already high in salt, and putting them together with salty condiments like ketchup and mustard can add up to more than 1,500 mg of sodium in a single sandwich.

There was another surprise for me here.  Chicken?  I went through the material my nutritionist gave me and found that this did need to be limited since it was protein, but nothing about sodium.  Notice #1 talks about 230 mg. of sodium being 15% of the recommended daily amounts.  It’s a higher percentage for us.  We are limited to 2,000 mg. of sodium daily – another ‘perk’ of having ckd – not the 2,400 mg. usually recommended. If you’re following the teaspoon of salt guideline, it is 2,300 mg.

Take heart (pun intended), we are in good company.  The American Heart Association made this recommendation on November 5th of this year:

” ‘Americans of all ages, regardless of individual risk factors, can improve their heart health and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by restricting their daily consumption of sodium to less than 1,500 mg’AHA chief executive officer Nancy Brown said in a statement. ”

You can read more at: http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/05/why-even-healthy-people-should-watch-their-salt-intake/#ixzz2C2ab5zjp

A note about mammographies and dense breast tissue before we end.  This caught my eye because, even though I recently had biopsies due to lumps felt upon manual palpitation, I also have dense breasts and was told so several years ago. Arizona has not passed this law yet.  I was just lucky enough to have a caring mammographist.

 “In a move that has irked medical groups and delighted patient advocates, states have begun passing laws requiring clinics that perform  mammograms to tell patients whether they have something that many women have never even heard of: dense breast tissue. Women who have dense tissue must, under those laws, also be told that it can hide tumors on a mammogram, that it may increase the risk of breast cancer and that they should ask their doctors if they need additional screening tests, like ultrasound or M.R.I. scans.”

Left, a scan of a dense breast, which has more glandular or connective tissue than a non-dense breast, right. The denser tissue, with more milk ducts and lobes, can block X-rays.

Thomas Kolb, M.D.

I urge you to read this important Oct. 24th article by Denise Grady which can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/health/laws-tell-mammogram-clinics-to-address-breast-density.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&adxnnl=1&seid=auto&smid=tw-nytimeshealth&adxnnlx=1352751446-kOG7vFMn6dRGqN4ipe4FCQ

If you hurry up, you may still be able to partake of Libre Clothing’s contest and give away on Pininterest.  They have been really good friends to us.

Question: would you like to see What It Is And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease at the Southwest Nephrology Conference in March?

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

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