Some help for my mom

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Backstory:
My mother is a 55 year old woman who came to Canada with barely anything and has very little in formal training and education. So her English is not that great. She called me today and asked me what potassium was. I figured her doctor mentioned it, and she went on to say that her doctors did a blood test and said she had too much potassium and sodium in her blood. The doctor advised that she limit her potassium intake.

She called me because she didn't know what potassium was and she didn't know what to do. Her doctor also advised her to limit sodium intake and told her that her kidneys were having some problems functioning (her words). Also, she needs to lower her cholesterol.

My mom doesn't do technology well so I'm doing the research for her.

Does anyone have any good resources on how to manage these problems?

I've advised her to limit high potassium foods such as avocados, bananas, oranges, and spinach. I also read that beef can be high in potassium.

She uses a lot of salt in her cooking (along with msg) - so I've asked her to limit that for now.

Her doctor offered to refer her to a dietitian but she said she wanted to do it on her own aka get me to help her. So the doctor has given her two months to do it on her own and if the condition doesn't improve, she will be referred to a dietitian.

Replies

  • sammyliftsandeats
    sammyliftsandeats Posts: 2,421 Member
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    MeganAM89 wrote: »
    The first thing that I would do would be to get in touch with her doctor and see if they'll speak to you directly or if they can have your mom sign an authorization allowing you to discuss her medical issues with them. I'd want to make sure there was no misunderstanding between them.

    Thanks Megan. I am in the process of doing that.

    I've asked her to bring me along to her next appointment too so I can help interpret the doctor's advice.
  • Heather4448
    Heather4448 Posts: 908 Member
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    Make another appointment and go with her. Have a list of questions ready. Having been in a similar situation, I can tell you it's very helpful to have the Q&A's printed out and put on her fridge.
  • Heather4448
    Heather4448 Posts: 908 Member
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    Ask her if she is having bladder control issues. (She is at an age where they can begin)

    Sounds weird but if she has cut back liquid consumption because of urine leakage, it could be as simple as her upping her water intake and cutting back on salt and msg.

    Her bladder control could also improve with more, not less, water.

    I am passing this on because this is happened to my MIL. She ended up having 3 TIAs before she told me, then her doctor, about the low liquid consumption because of bladder leakage.

    Cheers, h.

    I have to chime in here, because I have seen this so many times in the elderly! @middlehaitch is absolutely correct.
  • sammyliftsandeats
    sammyliftsandeats Posts: 2,421 Member
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    Thank you, Heather and H! I will ask her that.

    I do remember she had stress related incontinence a few years back but the issue was resolved once she was given some meds and the stressors in her life went away. But I will definitely keep it in mind.
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,484 Member
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    @sammyliftsandeats you could look up specific exercise that she can do to strengthen her pelvic floor. This will really help with the leakage, if she has it.

    MIL improved as soon as she upped her loquids, then she got her self leakage free with exercise. Oh and if she says she is too old- I am 63 and MIL is 76.

    I had a really bad flu a few years back and I sneezed so much for a couple of weeks my muscles were shot at the end of it- couldn't laugh or I'd pee.
    A few weeks of extra pelvic floor exercises and I was back to normal. I was around your mum's age at the time.

    Cheers, h.
  • TimothyFish
    TimothyFish Posts: 4,925 Member
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    Something about that doesn't sound right. Usually, when potassium is high sodium is low and when potassium is low sodium is high. Potassium and sodium are intended to work in conjunction. Sodium is used to allow water into a cell and potassium is used to release it. When sodium is high, blood holds more water than it should and so blood pressure goes up. When potassium is high, blood holds less water than it should and blood pressure is low. If both are elevated, I'm guessing that blood pressure might be normal, but it may be an indication that the kidneys aren't functioning properly.

    Potassium is found in all the foods that are normally considered "healthy". Fruits and vegetables, chicken, fish, nuts. Potatoes have a lot of potassium. Sodium is found in high quantities in most processed foods
  • sammyliftsandeats
    sammyliftsandeats Posts: 2,421 Member
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    @TimothyFish I realize that and I've asked to attend the next doctors appointment. Like I said, English is not her first language and she struggles with full understanding.

    I think, if anything, potassium is the bigger issue here.
  • 150poundsofme
    150poundsofme Posts: 523 Member
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    I am low in potassium. Some foods you might want to avoid are dried apricots and V8.
  • firlena227
    firlena227 Posts: 86 Member
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    Sorry to hear that she's having problems, well done for stepping in to help. I know you said your mother didn't want to see a dietitian but this really would be a good idea, they would probably get her to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks and make suggestions on what to change.
    If she wants to do it without the dietitian it might be an idea to ask her to keep a food diary then you can look at it together and see what changes she could make. One tip is if you boil potatoes, throw away the cooking water as the potassium leaches out into the water, then the potatoes are ok to eat!
    It's not very clear how much of a problem she has with her kidneys but BKPA have some really good information, I expect there's a Canadian equivalent. If you google BKPA renal diet there's lots of free downloads available on their site on low potassium & low sodium diets. Good luck :)