Eating and PA.

I’m still waiting for my specialist to make contact with the interventional radiologist who will be my physician of choice for the AVS. Waiting is annoying, quite frankly. Equally annoying is dealing the restricted food options for someone with untreated PA.

Food is already challenging enough for me as it is – I have a condition called fructose intolerance, which essentially means I can’t metabolize fructose. Fructose is, of course, in just about everything that comes out of a package in the American food supply, as well as plain old table sugar. But nobody should be eating that stuff anyway! Sadly, though, it’s also in most fruits, many grains, and even some vegetables. I’ve been dealing with this for a long time and it’s not usually that big of a deal.

But PA presents a whole other aspect of food restrictions: sodium. Again, it’s in everything and anything that comes out of a package in the American food supply, but it’s also naturally occurring in… well, just about everything.

PA causes salt (and water) retention. I think it’s pretty well-known that restaurant food tends to be over-salted. For me, a single restaurant meal can mean the difference between my clothes fitting or not – I’ve noticed an average water weight gain of 2 pounds when I eat out, but I’ve seen this go as high as SEVEN pounds. In addition to clothes not fitting, my blood pressure goes up, I get headaches, I feel bloated, and tend to get nausea when this happens. Bottom line – it’s not worth it, so I’m limiting my restaurant eating to “only when there is no other choice.”

The recommendation is that anyone with PA should keep their sodium intake under or around 1500mg/day. I’ve used Fitday to track mine, and interestingly, even adding absolutely no sodium to my food (which is mostly eggs, nuts, chicken, fish, and leafy green veggies, and nothing else) I’m still on the high side of 1500mg, and this on only around 1300 calories a day. So, even if you think you’re eating “no sodium,” chances are you aren’t 🙂

Here is another perspective on dealing with eating when you have PA, as well as some other general recommendations. I don’t completely agree with everything she says, but then, we’re all different with this disease. Caffeine doesn’t bother me, so I continue to drink coffee and green tea. And as for Gatorade and the like – since they are made with high fructose corn syrup, I wouldn’t drink them under any circumstances. I did find it interesting that she advocates avoiding sugar as well as salt – since I can’t eat sugar and haven’t eaten it in many years, I have no idea how it would affect me now that I have PA. Personally, I think we all would do well to restrict or eliminate sugar and sodium as much as possible, whether we are hypertensive or not.

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