Discoveries not always good news at first

Scientists have discovered a test that will tell them how good your chances are for getting well after you’ve just undergone a traumatic hospitalization for heart failure and spent thousands of either your insurance company’s funds or your own.

I’d guess, as a heart failure patient, you’d hardly find it appealing to think that your doctor is giving you a test that’s going to tell him you’re very likely to die within 60 days after you leave the hospital. Like David Spade in that hysterical frequent flyer miles commercial, your reaction is likely to be NO, NADA, NO WAY, C-E-NO, I’m not interested in your test, thank you very much. …unless of course you can help me.

It’s ironic that researchers often have to find out negative information before they can come up with positive news about treatments. Anyway, here’s a news article about the discovery that a high serum sodium level is a major predictor that you’ll die soon after being diagnosed with heart failure. It’s good that doctors are learning to pay more attention to this factor (formerly ignored in regard to heart failure). Happily, the story also reports that reducing these levels while you’re in the hospital can improve your chances, and they’ve discovered a drug that can help.

So this is what “no salt” is all about for heart patients. When things are working as expected, your kidneys excrete excess sodium; here’s more on what sodium serum level testing can tell you and your doctor.

I remember my dad struggling to adjust to living without salt. I don’t know about you, but I hope I’d be hitting up the doctor and talking about that sodium level thing before I ever got close to being in the hospital.

Now how I would be able to cope without salt is another matter.