From a Bad Cold to Life Support, and Back to Normal | Denae’s Altru Moment

Altru Moments - Published on October 27, 2016

denae-and-terry-photoIn spring of 2016, Denae Bayne of Newfolden, Minnesota, thought she had a bad cold. After a diagnosis of common bronchitis, she was sent home with medicine.

Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Denae was feeling lethargic and gloomy. In the evening, her husband, Terry, knew this wasn’t normal, and he brought her to the closest emergency room in Thief River Falls.

Several tests and chest x-rays revealed Denae did not have bronchitis. It was double pneumonia, covering about one third of her lungs, as well as severe dehydration. She was kept overnight for observation, and given antibiotics and fluids.

By Monday morning, another x-ray showed the pneumonia now covered half of her lungs—and her oxygen levels were dropping. By Tuesday morning, Denae had to be sedated and intubated in order to attempt getting her on a respirator. Another turn for the worse—her body rejected the respirator, and she had to be manually bagged for oxygen.

At 10 a.m., Denae was emergency airlifted to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, where she was immediately put into a medically induced coma and placed on life support.

The pneumonia had aggressively enveloped both of her lungs. As a result, she developed ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). Following more testing in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), doctors determined Denae was infected with the H1N1 influenza virus at some point during the week prior.

Four days before, it was a “bad cold.”

11 Long Days
Denae remained on life support for 11 days. Things took a turn for the better, and she was moved out of the ICU on April 11, 2016. Denae was able to leave the hospital on April 13, with the support of portable oxygen, physical therapy to assist with walking and completing basic hand coordination functions, and her husband, Terry, by her side.


Today, six months later, Denae’s lungs are just returning to normal. 

Dr. Shivu Kaushik [in Altru’s ICU] consistently kept us updated, and it was clear to see that he genuinely cared for the well-being of my wife,” beams Terry. “He thought she would be on life support for a minimum of three weeks; however, he did say, ‘Some people surprise me.’”

Denae was lucky to be one of those people.

Making an Impression
Dr. Kaushik wasn’t the only person who made an impression on the Baynes. Terry explains, “I can’t forget Dr. Mudireddy, who saw her in ER and the first day in ICU. Also Dr. Dalmi, who was with her on the floor after ICU until discharge. It was a great experience with respiratory, occupational and physical therapies, as well as all the nurses and cleaning staff.”

“In fact, the people at Altru impressed us so much that when we got home, I called our health insurance company and switched our primary care to Altru. It left that big of an impact on our lives!”

The Baynes are back to normal life today, enjoying spending time with family and friends and being outdoors in the fresh air. Denae is back at work, advocating for juveniles in the court system, trying to take every day a little slower and cherishing all the moments along the way.

A Heart for Giving | Putting Equipment into New Hands, Across the World

It's Altru - Published on October 26, 2016

Give, Donate, Charity“When asked to do something, sometimes it’s best to say ‘yes’ and figure out how you’re going to do it later,” smiles Jenny Senti, RN, clinical nurse specialist. That is exactly what Jenny did when she was asked to mentor a master of public health student desiring a practicum in obstetrics at Altru Health System.

Jenny said ‘yes’ and was fortunate enough to meet Dede Hesse from Ghana, a sub region of West Africa. Dede had a deep desire to learn, and she planned to take her new skills and knowledge across the world, back home to Ghana.

Dede was fortunate enough to meet Duane Sauer, customer support analyst at Altru. The two literally crossed paths one day—in the hallway at Altru, while Duane was working on equipment in a closet. A brief conversation, coupled with Dede’s interest in the equipment, led to her describing the medical school and health facility her parents were working tirelessly to open in Ghana. Duane, having previous experience with donating computers and medical equipment internationally, quickly began asking questions. His heart for this sort of work kicked into motion.

Turning a Dream into Reality
Dede’s mother, a physician, and her father, a pastor, dreamed of opening this medical facility in Ghana. Planning had already begun, and a donation of medical equipment and computers would help bring the Hesse family’s dream to life.

Jenny and Professor Hesse

Dede’s mother, Professor Hesse, visited Altru Health System in 2015. While she was here, other medical equipment that Altru was no longer utilizing was earmarked for donation to Ghana.

Clyde Strand, manager of biomed electronics, helped to prepare an isolette, fetal monitors, balloon pumps and other medical equipment that would have otherwise been recycled. Duane and other members of his team worked to restore over 100 computers and prepare them with necessary cords, keyboards, monitors, networking equipment and printers.

The donation, which would have all been recycled material and no longer served a purpose here, now would have a new life and serve people across the globe.

It Takes a Team
When the time came to assemble and pack all the equipment, even more departments and people at Altru got involved.

Ann Pederson in Altru’s Medical Library collected four large boxes of books donated by physicians and nurse practitioners. Employees volunteered time to package all contents and helped load the long-awaited truck that took the donation to be shipped to Ghana.

Altru employees

“It’s just something we do,” shares Duane. He finds comfort knowing that equipment that had expired here, or we had outgrown, would continue its life and help further the medical field, instead of being deposited into the recycle bin.


“I am so proud of this organization,” reflects Jenny. “We are taking care of people, all over the world.”

The medical school in Ghana was accredited before the shipment arrived, and the donated supplies are now in use.

Beyond Casts & Replacements: Joint Care Alternatives

Enrich - Published on October 26, 2016

neckTotal joint replacement isn’t the only answer to joint pain. Less invasive options exist—we offer them. Altru Advanced Orthopedics cares about helping patients find solutions for joint pain because quality of life matters to us. That’s why our approach hinges on a coordinated team effort, including orthopedists, physical therapists, chiropractors and beyond. Above all, it’s important that you know what we have to offer, whether you are looking for solutions now or storing ideas away for later.

Mapping out a Plan
The journey often begins by taking an individualized approach, specific to your pain level. “We approach problems methodically, identifying root causes and then possible interventions,” says Vinita Parikh, MD, anesthesiologist and interventional pain management physician at Altru. “We treat a variety of conditions, from tendon and acute ligament injuries to pain caused by osteoarthritis.”

Initial Interventions
Often, physical therapy is a first step, coupled with injections, as needed. “For example, when knee arthritis occurs, patients find they don’t want to be as active anymore, but that’s what their body needs and what physical therapy makes possible,” says Wade Olson, nurse practitioner at Altru Advanced Orthopedics. “It sounds counterintuitive to move into the pain, but it isn’t. Well-conditioned knee musculature is beneficial.”

To reduce inflammation of the affected knee or joint, corticosteroid injections can offer temporary pain relief. When the knee’s natural lubricant, synovial fluid, breaks down as a result of osteoarthritis, these injections add hyaluronic acid back to the knee to help restore this fluid.

“Basically, these injections make it possible for bones to glide more easily and absorb shock,” Olson says. “This injection is part of a series of injections, given once a week for up to five weeks, to reduce the pain associated with arthritis.”

Hear about Tim’s experience with non-surgical knee injections.


Healing Techniques
“The body needs routine maintenance, just like a car,” says Jordan McIntyre, DC, chiropractor at Altru Advanced Orthopedics. “Wear and tear happens with aging, so it’s important to take action early and often.”

Noninvasive techniques play a pivotal role in routine health. Some of the options we offer include:

  • Dry needling involves acupuncture-like needles that are inserted into tight muscles. An advanced technique, it brings in new blood to the muscle to flush out toxins and relieve muscle pain. The needle reaches deeper into the muscle than massage techniques can.

  • Graston Technique® uses specialized massage to break down scar tissue to restore movement to affected areas like feet or elbows.

  • Cupping works great for back conditions, because it doesn’t involve compression, only cups that suction blood to the surface. This process increases blood flow to mitigate pain. You may have heard of this during the Summer Olympics in Rio, as Michael Phelps used this technique.

“From my perspective, it’s always best to try the least invasive approach first,” Dr. McIntyre says. “You may not need surgery or want to invest the time it takes to heal from a more invasive procedure.”

Platelets to the Rescue
If initial steps do not appear to reduce pain symptoms and improve a patient’s quality of life, sometimes the next step includes a discussion about platelet-rich plasma (PRP), an up-and-coming technique rich in possible benefits. For those who battle osteoarthritis, or have a rotator cuff or ligament tear, PRP injections add platelets to the affected area, supplying much-needed proteins, or growth factors, to stimulate healing.

Here’s how it Works
A blood sample is taken from you and is spun in a centrifuge to isolate platelets. After the platelet concentration increases, these healing properties are added back to your blood sample and returned to your body.

“We use your own blood, not someone else’s,” Dr. Parikh says. “In six to eight weeks, you should notice an improved pain level, though some patients may require multiple treatments.”

Of course, this approach isn’t for everyone and doesn’t replace surgery. It is, however, a healing intervention geared toward helping people who have chronic pain.

Cartilage Restoration
Another option for those living with knee pain is cartilage restoration. When cartilage is worn or damaged, it can limit mobility and cause pain. This procedure repairs the articular cartilage, a firm, rubbery material that covers the ends of bones in the knee. Restoring the cartilage can help to improve athletic performance, relieve pain and slow the progression of further cartilage damage. It could be a good fit for those ages 20 to 50, as it’s a way to delay the need for joint replacement.

Hear about Sydney’s experience with cartilage restoration.

If joint pain is keeping you sidelined from activity, call 701.732.7700. Together, we can team up against the pain.

Eating Right For Your Pearly Whites

Enrich - Published on September 30, 2016

lady-eating-orangeAlong with daily brushing and flossing, a balanced diet is critical for the health of your teeth. Eating a diet that is nutrient dense helps to promote healthy teeth and gums. A balanced diet features nutrient dense foods from all the food groups and includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole-grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

Calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C are three nutrients that are important in tooth and gum health. Calcium and phosphorus help make teeth strong, and vitamin C promotes good gum health.

To help maintain healthy teeth and gums, incorporate the following foods into your meal plan.


  • Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese

  • Fortified soy milk

  • Canned salmon

  • Almonds

  • Dark green leafy vegetables


  • Eggs

  • Fish

  • Lean meat

  • Dairy products

Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruit

  • Tomatoes

  • Peppers

  • Broccoli

  • Potatoes

  • Spinach

In addition to the foods you eat, be sure to drink plenty of water. Water helps to rinse your mouth of leftover food and residue. It also dilutes the acid in your mouth which can wear away your enamel.

If you decide to have the occasional treat, avoid sticky, chewy and acidic options.

For a perfect, tooth-friendly appetizer for your next gathering, try Baked Spinach and Artichoke Yogurt Dip. It is packed with vitamin C and calcium-rich spinach and phosphorus-rich yogurt. Now that’s something worth smiling about.

Sarah Kuster, RDN, LDsarah-kuster, is a registered dietitian with Altru Health System. In her free time Sarah enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and being outdoors. 

The Right Way to Care for a Joint Injury at Home

Enrich - Published on September 30, 2016

ankle-painIt’s a tell-tale sign of age or rather a tell-tale sound of age—that cracking noise your knees make when you’re crouching down to pick up something or even when you’re just trying to sit in a chair. Most of the time, that sound is simply annoying or maybe even embarrassing, but occasionally that sound is accompanied by serious joint pain. If that’s the case, it might be time to take action.

What causes joint pain?
A number of things can cause joint pain—everything from arthritis, gout, bursitis or injuries such as strains or sprains. When a joint is diseased or experiences some kind of injury, its ability to provide support between the bones is compromised. This often interferes with movement and creates anything from mild discomfort to severe pain. Dr. Jeremy Gardner, an orthopedic surgeon at Altru Advanced Orthopedics, sees patients suffering from joint pain every day.

“Joint pain is quite common, especially in the knee and shoulder. A high percentage of people will experience joint pain at some point in their life,” he says.

In fact, studies show an estimated one-third of all adults report some joint pain over the last 30 days.

“Joint pain is extremely common in older adults and can be associated with trauma or it may be degenerative,” says Altru physical therapist, Amanda Leavy.


What can you do about it?
Fortunately, you have some options for what to do after an injury to the joint.

“Typically start with rest, ice, elevation and anti-inflammatories,” Dr. Gardner says. “If your symptoms persist beyond a couple of days or you have an inability to bear weight, then further evaluation may be necessary.”

If the pain is mild and there is no swelling, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is effective for relieving those symptoms. If the pain is more severe and it’s accompanied by swelling, you may need an over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) for relief. Dr. Gardner says aspirin can be effective, but would not be a standard first choice. Topical creams rubbed on the joint can also ease pain and symptoms.

Leavy says treatment can also include lifestyle changes.

“Conservative treatment for joint pain can include a wellness or weight loss program, supplement and vitamin implementation, it would be best to formulate that treatment plan with your primary care or orthopedic provider,” Leavy says.

The PRICE Principle
As is the case with many sports injuries, “The Price Principle” is an effective way to treat pain in the joints.

PRICE stands for:

  • Protection

  • Rest

  • Ice

  • Compression

  • Elevation

PRICE is most effective if used within two to three days of the joint pain or injury. More than anything, you are trying to manage swelling, reduce pain and prevent the joint from getting worse.

One way to prevent the joint pain from worsening is to wrap it in an ACE bandage or put it in a splint. Stabilizing the joint and preventing it from moving will prevent further damage.

Resting the injured joint and getting proper sleep is one way to ensure the body has a chance to heal itself. Sometimes, the body’s own healing powers need a little help. Some patients opt for the use of crutches to keep the injured knee or ankle sedentary.

An ice pack can be applied for approximately 20 minutes at a time and then removed. This can be repeated every two hours. To prevent injuring the skin, a thin washcloth should be placed between the ice pack and the skin. Dr. Gardner says heat is also an effective way to treat joint pain.

“Heat and ice can both be beneficial,” Dr. Gardner says. "There isn't one that is far superior to the other. Some people describe feeling better with heat in the morning and ice in the evening or after activities. Both can be beneficial depending on your symptoms.”

While ice can decrease the swelling of the joint, compression can keep the swelling down for longer periods of time. There are a number of compression wraps available on the market, but the most commonly used is an elastic or ACE bandage.

Finish the PRICE principle by elevating the injured joint as much as possible. Elevation is important because it helps slow blood flow to the joint.

When to see a doctor?
Some people will tough it out for years and never see a doctor for their joint pain. But they could be missing some relatively easy steps towards toward feeling better. Providers at Altru Advanced Orthopedics advise you to make an appointment if your pain is constant and unrelenting or if it affects your everyday life. Assessing what’s wrong might determine a treatment plan. With new treatments, medications and options, you don’t need to suffer.

Learn more about how to cope with joint pain at Altru Advanced Orthopedics,

Navigating the Pumpkin Spice Trend: Good Picks, Healthy Recipes & What to Avoid

Enrich - Published on September 30, 2016

pslOver the past few years, you may have noticed that pumpkin spice products have taken over menus and shelves. Pumpkin Oreos, pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin beer, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin nutrition bars, pumpkin hummus…the list goes on and on (and gets stranger every year)! This pumpkin obsession all started in 2003 when Starbucks introduced their Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). The trend has brought pumpkin to the forefront of fall-based foods, which, from a health perspective, has turned into mixed results from a nutritional standpoint.

The Good
Pumpkin in itself is a calorie-friendly, nutrient-dense fruit. One cup of pure canned pumpkin (pumpkin puree) contains 80 calories, and less than 1 gram of fat. Pumpkin pie filling on the other hand has additional ingredients (sugar, salt, spices, etc.) adding an extra 100 calories (180 kcal) per cup, so make sure you’re buying 100% pumpkin puree on your next trip to the baking aisle.

Similar to carrots, the bright orange color means that pumpkin is packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A plays a critical role in eye and skin health as well as the immune system. The good news is, just a half-cup of pumpkin puree fulfills your vitamin A needs for the day. Pumpkin is also loaded with other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, copper, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, B complex vitamins and fiber. Cup to cup, there’s actually more fiber in pumpkin than kale!

If you plan on carving a pumpkin anytime soon, make sure not to throw out the seeds. In addition to being a good protein source (7 grams/oz), pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of satiety-inducing dietary fiber, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, heart-healthy magnesium and potassium, immunity-boosting zinc and tryptophan (an amino acid) which can help you get some restful sleep after drinking all those lattes.


The Bad
Since pumpkin is a nutrient-packed, fiber-rich fruit, all these pumpkin spice products must be healthy, right? Pumpkin-spice buyer be warned: Seeing the word “pumpkin” on a menu or package does not necessarily mean the product is healthy. For example, “pumpkin granola” might sound healthy, but there could be more fat and sugar in half a cup of pumpkin granola than a candy bar. Additionally, many pumpkin spice products are highly processed. Though actual pumpkin spice is a mixture of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger, those ingredients are often replaced with artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners. You’re much better off adding your own pumpkin flavor (via pumpkin puree or pumpkin spice) to minimally processed foods like oatmeal, low-fat plain Greek yogurt, soup or other healthy options (see recipe ideas below!).

pumpkinThe Truth About the PSL
Since the pumpkin spice latte started the pumpkin trend, as a dietitian I feel it is my duty to reveal some nutrition facts of this fall staple.

If your go-to order is a small (12 oz/tall) pumpkin spice latte, you’re consuming 300 calories and 39 grams of sugar in one little cup of joe! According to the American Heart Association, the recommended amount of added sugar you should consume per day is 9 tsp (36 grams) for men and 6 tsp (24 grams) for women. So, a tall PSL would put you near or over your sugar limit for the entire day. Don’t be discouraged, you can still order a pumpkin spice latte – simply modify it with these requests for a healthier order:

“I’d like a tall pumpkin spice latte with non-fat milk, only 2 pumps of syrup, and hold the whip.”

Simple as that!

Another alternative is to make your own PSL with this recipe; you’ll save calories and a few bucks, too!

Healthy Recipes & Store-Bought Options
If you take the time to do your research and make your own pumpkin and pumpkin-spiced foods, you can stay healthy and enjoy this fun fall trend. To help keep you on track, here are a few of my favorite recipes and products.

Best Store-Bought Options

  • 100% pure pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)

  • Raw pumpkin seeds

  • Go Raw Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds

  • RXBar Pumpkin Spice

  • Pumpkin Pie Larabar

  • Pumpkin Spice Flax Kashi Crunchy Granola Bars

  • Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin Fig Ancient Grain Granola

  • Barbara’s Pumpkin Puffins Cereal

  • Post Road Pumpkin Ale

  • Panera’s autumn squash soup with pumpkin seeds

  • Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Pumpkin Spice Recipe

  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 ½ tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger

  • ¾ tsp cloves

Mix together and store in an airtight container or empty spice jar.

Try one of these dietitian-approved pumpkin recipes:

Danielle Rancourt700x700_Rancourt is a performance dietitian with Sports Advantage powered by EXOS. She enjoys cooking, baking, working out and spending time outdoors to keep busy.

Regaining Self-Esteem After Breast Cancer Surgery

Enrich - Published on September 30, 2016

Woman smilingAbout 1 in 8 women in America will develop breast cancer in their lifetime according to the American Cancer Society. Of these women, many will require a mastectomy, an operation which removes the breast. This surgery is often a necessary and life-saving option for women battling breast cancer. However, it can leave many survivors feeling like they’ve lost a piece of their femininity and self-confidence. To help, Truyu Aesthetic Center offers breast reconstruction surgery. Performed following a mastectomy, this procedure offers breast cancer survivors an option to regain a more natural looking breast.

First Steps
The road to breast reconstruction begins after the diagnosis of breast cancer, often identified after mammogram imaging, a type of X-ray that looks at breast tissue. If a subsequent biopsy tests positive for cancer, the battle to fight it begins. A team of experts at Altru Cancer Center work to identify the proper course of action for each individual. If it’s determined that a mastectomy is the best solution, a general surgeon will perform this surgery. The surgeon may bring up the possibility of breast reconstruction. If this option isn’t presented, the patient can initiate the conversation with their surgeon or other provider. 

In Grand Forks, Truyu offers a variety of plastic surgery procedures, one of which is breast reconstruction surgery. Truyu plastic surgeon, Dr. Jaron McMullin, is one of two practicing breast reconstruction surgeons in the Grand Forks area, along with his colleague Dr. Kevin Muiderman. Dr. McMullin encourages education about breast reconstruction, knowing that it can be an important option for many women who’ve battled breast cancer. “I hope that women become more informed about this process so that they know it is an option for themselves, their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and friends,” shared Dr. McMullin.

How it Works
Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed two different ways. The first uses existing tissue from other locations in the body (abdomen, buttocks, thigh, etc.). The tissue is transplanted to the breast and restructured into a breast shape. This option, according to Dr. McMullin, is more extensive with a longer recovery time.  It is typically done if the patient has been through radiation treatments, which leaves the skin with decreased ability to heal.

The second method, more commonly performed by plastic surgeons nationwide, including Dr. McMullin, is done by using an expander followed by a silicone or saline implant.  After the mastectomy is performed, an expander is put in under the tissue remaining after removal of the breast. There is a port within the expander to allow it to be filled slowly. This allows the skin of the breast to be stretched carefully after a mastectomy, which takes a large amount of the breasts’ skin. After the expander has reached the size needed, surgery is done to replace it with the implant. Dr. McMullin says that this method requires less intensive surgery and recovery time.


Easing Uncertainties
The road to reconstruction is often filled with doubt and uncertainty. Many women diagnosed with breast cancer are hesitant to undergo another surgery and are worried the results won’t be what they hoped for. This doubt can be lessened by viewing images of past successful operations performed. There are also improvements being made every day due to advancements in technology. One such technique involves injecting fat into the hollowing left behind after a partial mastectomy. Reconstruction not only improves outward appearance after mastectomy, but also can help women regain self-confidence. 

Self-esteem in many women after breast cancer can be diminished.  The removal of one or both of the breasts may feel a bit like a loss of femininity. Receiving breast reconstruction surgery can give women a self-esteem boost; this is something Dr. McMullin has seen firsthand.  “One recent patient rarely smiled.  After the mastectomy, she seemed to have lost her happiness and confidence,” shared Dr. McMullin. “When she came back for her appointment following her implant surgery, I finally saw her smile. Her self-esteem and confidence were back.”

Some women may think that they are not eligible to receive breast reconstruction surgery because their mastectomy took place 10, 15, or even 30 years ago. Further, some women may think that their insurance may not help pay for reconstruction. Dr. McMullin said that usually isn’t the case. “I’ve had women who come to me years after their surgery and have breast reconstruction done. Many women think they may not be able to afford the surgery, but reconstruction following a mastectomy due to breast cancer is, by the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, covered by group health plans, health insurance companies, and HMOs, as long as the plan covers medical and surgical costs for mastectomy.”

If you or someone you love has battled breast cancer, consider reconstruction as an option that can help regain confidence and get you back to feeling like you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Arthritis, Answered

Enrich - Published on September 30, 2016

Female doctor helps senior man patient. Holding his hand.Arthritis is a debilitating and often life-changing disease that involves painfully inflamed joints.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is caused by deterioration of cartilage and is the most common form of arthritis; however,  there are more than 100 different types, including rheumatoid, psoriatic, fibromyalgia and gout. All forms of arthritis cause pain and in-part are non-preventable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) estimates that nearly half of all adults will experience arthritis by the time they’ve reached age 85. Arthritis, an autoimmune disease that involves the body producing antibodies that attack its own tissues, is most common in women due to biology, genetics, hormones and the prevalence of obesity in women.

According to the CDC, you can reduce your risk of developing arthritis by taking small steps, like making changes in your diet, exercising, reducing risk of injury and consulting your physician. If you’re already experiencing the symptoms of arthritis—joint pain, swelling, stiffness and fatigue—you may have a few questions that, once answered, will provide you with not only physical relief, but peace of mind.

man holding hands sore knee

We went to the experts at Altru Advanced Orthopedics to answer your questions about arthritis.

Dr. Leetun is an orthopedic surgeon with a focus in treatment of athletic and non-athletic injuries. Here’s what he had to say:

Is arthritis preventable?
Dr. Leetun: Nothing can absolutely prevent arthritis. However, appropriate activities, good shoe choices and injury avoidance all can be helpful to help prevent arthritis.

Does diet affect my arthritis?
Dr. Leetun: Diet can affect arthritis if an individual becomes overweight because of poor diet choices. Increased weight gain causes excess stress on the knee and hip joints and can lead to increased pain.

What exercises can I do with arthritis?
Dr. Leetun: Low impact exercise for those with hip and knee arthritis are best.  Well-cushioned shoes are recommended. Pool walking or pool exercises are good way to exercise when one has hip or knee arthritis to take a load off of the degenerative joints. Flexibility and stretching as well as muscle conditioning and strengthening also can help arthritis. Physical therapists at Altru can coordinate an appropriate exercise program for those living with arthritis.

Should I be placed on medication for my arthritis?
Dr. Leetun: Medications can be helpful for arthritis. Options can be directed through an individual's primary provider and may include anti-inflammatories, glucosamine chondroitin sulfate and Tylenol.

What alternative practices are available to manage my arthritis?
Dr. Leetun: Therapeutic massage as well as acupuncture or acupressure can be beneficial.


Wrist painRheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that frequently develops in small joints first, like the hands. Dr. Brad Meland is a hand and plastic surgeon specializing in hand, wrist and nerve surgery. He weighs in on the topic:

Is arthritis of the hand more common than other parts of the body?
Dr. Meland: Not necessarily. All joints of the body can be affected by arthritis. The hand is probably thought to be most common because the hand is used more and affects the patient's activities more frequently

How does hand arthritis affect daily life?
Dr. Meland: Hand arthritis affects daily life by causing pain, weakness and loss of function that may affect work, play and daily activities.

What is the treatment for it/or how is it managed?
Dr. Meland: The treatment is specific to the joints involved. It starts with medications then therapy, splints, steroid injections and lastly surgery.

How common is hand surgery as a "cure?"
Dr. Meland: Hand surgery is not a cure for any type of arthritis. Its purpose is first to alleviate pain thus improve function. This may include limited joint fusions, artificial appliances or joint replacements. This may limit range of motion but for the most part function is dramatically improved. The surgery requires prolonged therapy.

Is hand arthritis more common in men or women?
Dr. Meland: There are several different types of arthritis. Some are more common in women some in men. By far, the most common arthritis seen in the hand is in the base of the thumb, and it is more common  in women.

If you think you have arthritis or are concerned with your current state of health, contact a physician. The physicians at Altru Advanced Orthopedics are ready to listen and provide exceptional care. Learn more about the comprehensive care offered at Altru Advanced Orthopedics at

See also:

5 Ways Being a CNA Could Help Your Future Nursing Career

It's Altru - Published on September 30, 2016

kesha-5Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are an important part of the healthcare team. These hard-working professionals provide much of the one-on-one attention patients require. Under the direction of a registered nurse (RN), CNAs deliver hands-on nursing care that includes bathing, dressing, feeding, as well as taking vital signs and other measurements at regular intervals.

If your goal is to become a nurse, starting out as a CNA is a great opportunity to explore the nursing field. You’ll get the chance to work alongside LPNs and RNs in a variety of healthcare settings, earning invaluable experience and skills along the way. In fact, easing into the occupation offers several important benefits. Let’s take a look.

Get Paid While You Train
Let’s face it—college tuition rates are skyrocketing, and nursing school won’t be getting cheaper anytime soon. If you don’t want to graduate with a mountain of student debt, earning your CNA certification is an excellent opportunity to make some money while you gain valuable on-the-job experience. You may even find an employer willing to pay for your CNA training.

Dip a Toe Without Diving In
This is the most obvious benefit of the ladder approach. You get to see what the nursing field is really like without immediately committing your life to it. Few other careers have such an opportunity to work in the field, side-by-side with the professionals you aspire to become. In many ways, it’s a lot like a grownup version of a paid internship, only much more rewarding. Plus, you can experience different healthcare settings to see which fits your style best: hospital, clinic, hospice, etc.

Confirm Your Passion
Nursing is more of a passion than a career. You’re called to the work because you have a desire to help others. On any given day, the sick, injured or elderly will be relying on you to care for their physical (and emotional) needs. One of the greatest benefits of working as a CNA before moving on to nursing school is that you get the chance to affirm in your heart that you have what it takes to deal with those demanding situations.

Boost Your Chances of Getting Into School
Along with rising tuition costs, nursing school is becoming more and more competitive every year. Why? Because it’s a quickly growing job market with plenty of demand all over the country. Look on any job posting site and you’ll find hospitals, clinics and senior care facilities looking for CNAs, LPNs and RNs. Having your CNA credential and on-the-job experience will set your nursing school application apart from those that are fresh out of high school.

Boost Your Chances of Getting a Nursing Job
This is what it’s all about, right? Getting that dream nursing job at the location of your choosing. Just because there are plenty of openings doesn’t mean every employer is desperate to hire just anyone. If you want the highest-paying nursing job with the best hours, the best boss and the best benefits, you’ll need an impressive resume. Working as a CNA proves many things to a future employer: you have hands-on experience, you’ll be able to jump in on day one, you’ve likely shown you can perform under pressure, and you’ve worked your way up, which shows your longevity and commitment to your chosen career.

Few careers offer such opportunities for on-the-job experience and training as the nursing field. With the ability to find free training and paid experience, you can explore nursing as a potential career without investing in four years of nursing school. If you see yourself in scrubs one day with RN next to your name, consider starting out as a CNA to see what the healthcare industry is all about.

Do you have a passion for caring for people? Do what you love. Make a difference. Join our team of over 4,000 health professionals and support staff committed to caring for the region for more than 100 years.

Is Laser Hair Reduction Right For You? Get the Scoop on This Popular Treatment

Enrich - Published on September 21, 2016

Smooth legsIf you’re sick of shaving, waxing, tweezing and the inevitable bumps, irritation and redness that follow, then laser hair reduction could be the solution you’re looking for to deal with unwanted hair. Bonus – this popular treatment can permanently reduce hair in treated areas by 80-100 percent for most people. Here’s all you need to know about laser hair reduction and its benefits.

How it Works
Laser hair reduction is one of the most commonly done cosmetic procedures in the United States. It works by sending highly concentrated light and heat into hairs follicles. Pigment in the follicles absorbs the light and destroys the hair. Laser hair reduction can be done on any area of the body. Popular areas of treatment include; underarms, bikini, back, legs, neck, upper lip and chin.

Hair grows in several phases. The laser can only treat the actively growing hair follicles, so several sessions are needed to kill hair in all phases of growth. Typically, eight to twelve treatments every six to ten weeks are needed for best results, depending on the area of treatment and your individual reaction to the treatment.

Refreshing and cleansingWho is a Candidate?
Many people are great candidates for this treatment, as pre-requirements are minimal.  However, laser can only treat dark hair. It will not treat grey, white, red or other lighter shades of hair. It is beneficial to schedule a free consultation at Truyu prior to your first treatment. A laser technician can evaluate your skin, hair and other factors to help determine if you are a candidate.

Preparation Tips
Laser hair reduction is most successful on skin that’s had minimal sun exposure, as darker pigment can attract the laser to the skin rather than to the hair follicle. So, it’s best to avoid sun in the area you’d like treated for at least four weeks prior to treatment. After treatment, be sure to wear a strong sunscreen as skin in the area can be sensitive.

Unlike other hair removal techniques, it is not required that hair be grown out prior to treatment. Your laser technician will likely advise you to shave the area prior to your treatment.  During the treatment, you’ll be asked to wear protective goggles to safeguard your eyes.

Laser hair removal

What to Expect
Laser hair reduction is safe and comfortable. At Truyu, we have nationally certified laser technicians and one of the best lasers on the market to treat unwanted hair. Laser hair reduction is quick and most people experience only slight redness and a sunburn sensation in the treatment area afterwards.

Fall is a great time to start laser hair reduction. During the months of September and October 2016, Truyu is offering 50 percent off a single laser hair service, so call us today to schedule your free consultation. You’ve got nothing to lose, except unwanted hair.

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