Every day that I live with sarcoidosis is full of adventure. Some of those adventures are appointments with various doctors. My two main appointments are checkups with my pulmonologist and my cardiologist. This particular adventure was with my cardiologist.
Sarcoidosis can affect your blood pressure and cause heart palpitations, among other things, so my primary physician makes sure I see a cardiologist regularly. I thought that made sense. Moreover, I honestly don’t mind some of the testing if it means I’ll stay healthier while keeping sarcoidosis at bay.
Every adventure has a purpose
I met with my cardiologist last week because my blood pressure had been much higher than usual over the course of a few days and I wanted to be sure that my health wasn’t declining. The cardiologist found it peculiar since I haven’t been on any blood pressure medication in several years. She ordered an electrocardiogram to see if there were any abnormalities in my heart rhythm.
She reviewed my past tests, including a right-heart catheterization and a CT scan of my heart, along with her notes, and concluded that I was still in pretty good condition. She didn’t seem alarmed by anything, which calmed me. It could’ve just been a passing event that happens when you have sarcoidosis. She prescribed me a low-dose blood pressure medication, and we’ll see each other again in a couple months.
Preventive initiatives for better health
Not only is my cardiologist very professional, she’s also extremely casual — a rare balance. We spent some time talking about changes I had made to preserve my heart health. I told her that I had enrolled in a holistic nutritional course, and she was pleased with the news. It turns out that she had become more health-conscious about her diet. I shared some of the information I’d learned, and she was pleasantly surprised. So here we were, patient and doctor, having an in-depth conversation like two nerds in science class. Admittedly, I’ve always been a nerd!
During this visit, I talked about my various hospital stays over the previous two years, and particularly about the hospital’s dietary and nutritional offerings to its patients. The majority of the menu items were carbs and processed foods, which I told her were probably a contributing factor to my health issues.
During my stays, I ate mostly salads and whole foods, when they were available. That got me two visits from the nutritionist to inquire about my meal choices. I explained my regular dietary needs and that I usually had enough food items with my meals, even having a few goodies left for snacks. Their menu items limited my dining selections. (I later found out that most of them were prepared selections outsourced from a vendor — no real cooking involved!) The nutritionist decided to send me sandwiches throughout the day to increase my appetite.
Exercise your nutritional choices
Any improvement starts at the ground level, even for people living with a chronic illness. My doctor told me that she had changed her diet and dropped one full dress size over the course of a few months. I told her that I’ve become more aggressive with the dietary changes I’ve instituted with myself and my family. The simplest things like changing the water you drink and limiting inflammatory foods can make a huge difference. I also told her about several articles regarding chicken and how it is marketed to give people the sense that it’s healthier than it is.
Some of the dietary changes that work for me are:
- Drinking more water and infused teas. I buy pure spring water that is labeled “bottled at the source.” No purified water.
- Limiting dairy intake. Dairy can increase mucus in the body. If you do have dairy, probiotic yogurt has more calcium than milk.
- Eating more whole foods and vegetables, wild caught fish, and organic chicken. Avoiding processed foods, when possible, can help, too.
It takes little effort and lots of discipline, but at the end of the day, these few changes can help you live better with sarcoidosis for another day.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.