Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Health Tips for February 11

Health Tip: Use Less Salt in Your Diet

Sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, which raises your risk for heart attack and stroke.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers these suggestions for a lower-sodium diet:

  • Choose fresh, lean meats, poultry, and fish instead of processed versions.
  • Skip the salt and use fresh herbs, spices, and low- or no-salt seasonings.
  • Stick to fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned. If you do choose canned, look for "no salt added" versions, or rinse vegetables before use.
  • Don't add salt to the water when cooking rice or pasta. Also, avoid instant versions of these foods.
  • Stay away from pre-packaged foods that are often high in sodium, such as frozen meals, pizzas, canned soups and foods, and packed food mixes.

Health Tip: Preparing for an Ultrasound

If your doctor has prescribed an ultrasound, there are certain steps you'll need to take to prepare for the procedure.

The Radiological Society of North America offers these suggestions for what to do before your appointment:

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may have to change into a gown during the procedure.
  • Take off all jewelry near the part of your body that will be examined during the ultrasound.
  • For some tests, you may be asked to avoid food and drink for up to 12 hours before the test.
  • For other types of ultrasound, you may have to drink several glasses of water a few hours before the test, so that you have a full bladder.
  • A clear gel will be applied to the skin near the study area, then the images are taken. After an ultrasound, you can go back to your normal activities and shouldn't have any side effects.

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