Hello, everyone, RUSH® ReBELLE Jenny Pollreis here with this month’s nutrition and fitness advice. This month we’re going to focus on some basic but important nutrition information; more specifically, two common issues that cause volume fluctuation and can affect the fit of your prosthetic device.
One very common problem that can affect our limb volume is dehydration, a lack of water in your body, will not only make your residual limb shrink, but can also result in your prosthesis not fitting correctly. Along with volume fluctuation, dehydration causes increased heart rate and blood pressure, this makes your heart work harder to circulate your blood throughout the body, leaving you even more dehydrated. There are some physical indications that are obvious assign of dehydration. When you stand up or sit down and you get dizzy, feel light headed or faint. You may also feel moody, get headaches, or even feel depressed. Another side effect may be bad breath due the body not being able to produce saliva. You may notice patches of dry skin resulting from your body trying to hydrate from the inside. Muscles may cramp due to the heart working harder in effort to pump thick under-hydrated blood through your body. Your skin may feel thin and urine can appear a dark yellow and have a strong odor. Dehydration can also lead to fevers, chills, and even food cravings, especially sweets. Worst of all, cramping due to dehydration can also trigger phantom pains.
How can you fight off and prevent dehydration? First off, drink more water! Keep a bottle of water handy and add fresh fruit or sugar-free flavor additives to your water to enhance flavor and hydration. Prepare snacks of fruits and vegetables; they are packed full of water and vitamins. Always be sure to drink water during meals. It also helps to drink water at room temperature rather than cold water. Your body can absorb it faster.
While lack of hydration can lead to volume-loss, excess hydration can lead to volume-gain issues. How you ask? Too much salt in your diet leads to water retention and bloating. To keep your residual limb at a consistent volume, it is important to watch your salt intake. As delicious as it is, too much salt can be bad for you. Processed and fried foods, as well as many restaurant foods have a very high sodium content which may enhance flavor, but as a result of eating such foods we are taking in more salt than we think or ultimately need. When you consume too much sodium your kidneys keep more water in the system, an affect called edema (swelling in the extremities) which can lead to high blood pressure over time. Too much sodium also makes you thirsty because salt dehydrates you. Aside from edema, Excessive salt may bring on stomach ulcers, infections, make stomach cancer worse and disrupt the stomach lining. If you feel like your skin is about to “rip open”, you probably have consumed too much salt. Some salt is essential for normal body functions but there is enough salt in fruits, vegetables, and meats that you don’t need to add more. Try a salt substitute or whole spices to flavor your meals or look for “low-sodium” products while shopping.
As you can see, these two thing are essential to monitor and easy to guide. Change doesn’t happen overnight but with a little practice at increasing water intake and decreasing salt intake will help you maintain consistent limb-volume. With consistent limb size you will not only stabilize the fit of your prosthesis, but also increase your quality of life and improve your overall health.
If you’re currently having issues with cramping be sure to hydrate accordingly. Simple stretching exercises may also help you loosen up those tense muscles; be sure to check out this video “Simple Stretches You Can Do Anywhere” for some tips on how you can quickly and easily stretch out those sore muscles. Or, you can download a step-by-step written copy by simply clicking here.
Be sure to tune in next month for more tips and advice on health, nutrition. Visit our Facebook page at Facebook.com/rushfoot. Make sure to LIKE our page and visit regularly for upcoming blog posts, informative videos, and to meet and chat with all your favorite RUSH® Rebels, ReBELLES and Rascals.