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Naproxen, Sodium and Weight Gain

June 27, 2018
Juggling Naproxen and sodium intake
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NSAIDS, especially in the form of naproxen, are both the bane and boon of my life. For many years when I was younger, I took one naproxen in the morning and one in the evening to alleviate the pain in my knees from arthritis. I still remember how upset I was when I found out that studies were showing that taking it on a regular basis led to an increase in the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Juggling Risks

Now that I am reaching my “golden years” I am finding that I need to play an interesting game called “juggle your risks” in order to maintain my quality of life.

On the one hand, I have heart issues including AFIB and possibly other wonderful things like congestive heart failure, three words you don’t really want to hear from your doctor. The other hand juggles the ball labeled arthritis, along with other assorted balls such as exercise, reduce sodium intake and lose weight.

Being a Nerdy Type

I now weigh myself every day and because I am a nerdy type and like to research all kinds of things, I make regular notes of my blood pressure, blood sugar and anything that is going on in my life that might have an impact on those things. I use this awesome site to log my notes and keep track of exercise and food intake. It has really been helpful to me in losing weight and discovering interesting patterns in my body, especially about salt intake.

Unconcious Food Faux Pas

The last couple of days I was trying to finish up a package of sliced deli turkey that I had in the fridge and was making myself a tasty sandwich with two slices of the turkey, a slice of provolone cheese and half an avocado. The calories were well within those allowed for my day and I didn’t think too much about it and didn’t log my food for two days because I was really busy.

Over those 2 days, I gained three pounds! When I went back and input my food intake and exercise, I was slightly over in calories on one day and under on the other, so the old counting calories thing had obviously gone off the rails somewhere.

However, much to my dismay my salt intake was almost three times what it should have been. Most blah, blah, blah experts say that we should limit sodium intake to between 1,500 mg. and 2,300 mg. daily. I can tell you that if you eat out at all, you will not be hitting anywhere near this mark. You will most likely be well over 3,000 mg. before you can say, “Bob’s your uncle!”

Naproxen and Salt Intake

Like most Americans, I have enjoyed eating out for years and never paid a lick of attention to my salt intake. Now it kicks my butt, especially if I combine it with taking naproxen.

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “Inhibition of renal prostaglandin synthesis by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) causes various electrolyte and acid-base disturbances including sodium retention (edema, hypertension), hyponatremia, hyperkalemia, and decreased renal function. Decreased sodium excretion can result in weight gain, peripheral edema, attenuation of the effects of antihypertensive agents, and rarely aggravation of congestive heart failure.”

Do You See the Juggling Act Here?

Egyptian jugglers

I feel much, much better than I did at the beginning of the year and I know that has to do with some changes in my prescribed medications and herbal/vitamin meds, paying attention to my diet and being able to exercise more but it is an interesting study in balance.

Sometimes I have no other options but to take the naproxen in order to be able to move, but if I do, I have to be more strict with my salt intake.

I am exploring other avenues of pain alleviation, including herbal remedies and medical marijuana but those are topics for another day. In the meantime, I am off to exercise!

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