Get out on the Greenway [Infographic]

Whether you adore being outside or you’re looking for ways to be more active as a family, the Greenway of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks has something for everyone. Map your next adventure together!

WEB - Greenway1_infographic(Click image to view larger.)

Break the Code
Orienteering is a great way to get outdoors and hone your compass and map-reading skills. Download the course map from to get started, and then enter the codes you find along the way for a prize.

Fun With Fido
The off-leash dog park at Lincoln Drive Park offers a place for you to run and play with your favorite furry friend.

Cruise the Red
The waters of the Red and Red Lake Rivers are perfect for launching your boat or trying your hand at canoeing and kayaking.

Try Camping
Enjoy a night under the stars in the Red River State Recreation Area, featuring 113 campsites. If you have a motor home, take advantage of one of the 85 electric sites offering sewer and water hookups.

Train Like a Pro
Have a race day in your future? Use the 8.5-mile loop trail to build endurance before the competition.

Hit the Links
The Greenway boasts two unique golf courses––Lincoln Golf Course and Valley Golf Course––so you can perfect your swing.

For a complete listing of activities and upcoming events, visit Getting active after a long winter? Talk to your Altru physician about your exercise regimen first.


No Gym Required: Enjoy the Benefits of Training Outdoors

No Gym RequiredRemember when you were growing up and you used to go outside to “play,” but now as an adult, you end up inside a gym to “workout?”

Gyms have brought us countless health benefits, but it seems our culture has developed a disconnect between gym exercise and physical activity. We drive to the gym to walk on a treadmill, and many of us are guilty of driving around the parking lot to find the closest parking spot. These examples may seem silly, but are commonplace in our society as we seem to have lost touch with the fact that being physically active is exercise!

If you are looking to shake up or start an exercise routine, step outside into a world that was designed for activity. There are countless options to choose from (after, of course, you’ve consulted your doctor to make sure you’re healthy for exercise).

Swimming is a near perfect total-body exercise. Not only is it a full-body low impact workout, it brings high results by strengthening your muscles without picking up a weight. It’s easy on your joints, expands lung capacity and causes fewer injuries than some forms of exercise.

Besides a bathing suit, you don’t need any fancy workout equipment. Swimming is a fun way to get your body moving and your heart rate up. 

Bike riding is great cardio training. This activity can be done alone, with your family or a group of friends. Make your next ride a little more fun and plan a route to a specific destination. Instead of setting out to simply bike five miles, pick a coffee house five miles away and get a group together to bike there once a week.

You can also take advantage of the summer weather and bike to and from work. Not only will it help you feel better; you’ll be saving the environment as well. Remember, safety first: wear a helmet. (Need a new one? Check out these options available through Safe Kids Grand Forks.) 

Stairs can be great exercise. Before you begin, walk up and down the flight to make sure they’re sturdy. Then, get creative and move up the stairs straight, in a zig-zag pattern or add footwork drills by hopping, bounding or shuffling. Stairs are also great for tricep dips, step-ups or incline push-ups.

Hill Climbing
Although a little hard to come by in these parts, hills provide just enough incline for a great workout. Try pumping your arms on the way to the top, and remember to stay light on your feet. Perform a circuit of push-ups, squats, crunches, jumping jacks and lunges before heading back up for another round.

Remember the simplest exercise of all – walking. It’s a great no-fuss way to get in some cardio. All you need are comfortable walking shoes. Investing in a pedometer or fitness tracker can serve as good motivation to track exactly how many steps you take each day. Aim for 10,000 steps per day and try to keep your pace up, walking as fast and as comfortably as you possibly can. Once you know how far you’ve gone, log your miles through Healthy Choices Greater Grand Forks’ Walking Challenge.

Grab a pair of Nordic walking poles and increase your calorie burn up to 30 percent while sculpting your upper body. You can also try a weighted vest to safely ramp up your intensity and blast more calories without straining your joints. Here are some ways to increase intensity:

  • Run 20 seconds, walk 20 seconds. Repeat five times.
  • Walk five minutes with two 10-second sprints spaced in the middle.
  • Repeat a pattern of walk 40 seconds, jog/sprint 10 seconds, walk 10 seconds.

There is always an opportunity for exercise. Sometimes it’s easier than you think to fit a walk into your day. Just leave your car at home, lace up those sneakers, get outside and get moving! There really is no better feeling.

Emily SpicerEmily Spicer is a health and wellness specialist at Altru Health System. With a positive approach to overall wellness, she inspires people to take control of their lives through a focused commitment toward better health and to make that choice a habitual and natural one. In her free time, Emily enjoys a good workout, playing tennis and spending time with her family and friends.

Run Right: Tips for Putting Your Best Foot Forward

700x700-FB-tempate_run-rightWithout the proper footwear and form, running could be doing your body more harm than good.

Improper running mechanics can cause musculoskeletal pain and injury. To diagnose a problem, first determine how your feet roll when they strike the ground. Most runners have too much inward roll, called overpronation.

“If you overpronate, start with more supportive running shoes and gradually transition to more minimalist-style shoes,” says Amanda Leavy, PT, physical therapist at the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics. “A minimalist shoe promotes proper running form, but it may take time to learn the right technique before switching shoe styles.”

Best Foot Forward
To achieve proper running form, Amanda offers the following instructions:

  • Lean forward slightly, engaging your core, spinal and pelvic muscles.
  • Hit the ground mid-foot, more toward the ball than the heel. Footstrikes should be quick and light.
  • Strike underneath your center of gravity, letting your forward stance create momentum.
  • Use your hamstring to lift your foot.

“Listen to your body and make any needed adjustments,” Amanda says. “You’re less likely to experience pain hotspots after correcting your running form.”

Free Sports Performance Screen
Using advanced 2D video and motion analysis software, Altru physical therapists are able to help athletes avoid injuries through objective measures and recommended prevention steps. Learn more about our free sports performance screen taking place from 8-10 a.m. June 20. 

Improve your running form with a gait analysis at the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics. To schedule an appointment, call 701.732.7620.

Leavy, Amanda_2015_4CAmanda Leavy, PT, is a physical therapist at the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics. She and her husband, Paul, have two young boys, Corban and Colten. Her favorite things to do besides being with family are CrossFit, running and watching Sioux Hockey.

Ps. For 30 Days, push yourself just a little harder toward your fitness goals. Even if you don’t run, walk a little farther, swim one more lap or keep cycling a few minutes more. Learn more about #30DaysofRunning.

Stroke Prevention: Real Questions, Real Answers from Dr. Novacek, Altru Neurologist

700x700-FB_Stroke-questionsSince I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to be a doctor. I love science and people, and there’s no better career than medicine to combine the two. But it wasn’t until college that I discovered my passion for neurology. I find the nervous system to be fascinating and slightly mysterious, with research that’s always changing.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. It is the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability. A stroke strikes FAST, and you should too. Here are some real questions, real answers about stroke.

How are heart disease and stroke related?

  • Heart disease deals with blood supply that goes to the heart.
  • Stroke deals with blood supply that goes to the brain.
  • So, both have to do with blood supply traveling to the main organs of the body.

What causes stroke?

  • Clots can come from different areas. They can form in the heart or can form from other blood vessels going to the brain. Tiny arteries in the brain can also be blocked causing strokes. Besides blood clots, blockage can be caused by inflammation of the blood vessels or atherosclerosis, a build-up of fatty substances along the artery.
  • A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a ruptured blood vessel.

How can stroke be prevented?

  • The biggest thing is to decrease the rate at which atherosclerosis forms. This includes exercising regularly, not smoking, eating and sleeping well, and managing weight and stress.
  • If you’re not getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night on a consistent basis, it’s a good idea to get tested for sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. Learn more>>
  • Take the time now to make the appropriate lifestyle changes and reduce your risk of stroke, so you don’t have to act FAST down the road. Some studies indicate that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

What are the signs of stroke?

  • The most known symptoms are numbness, weakness and difficulties speaking but, dizziness or spinning, vision loss, slurred speech and coordination problems can all be signs.
  • With stroke, patients experience sudden onset, with no prior history. Over age 50, suspicion becomes higher, though stroke can happen to anyone, anytime.
  • In younger people, illicit drugs could also affect blood vessels and cause stroke.
  • There is a higher risk of stroke during pregnancy and right after delivery.
Run FASTer

Run FASTER, a stroke awareness 5K walk/run, was held by UND School of Nursing and Professional Disciplines on May 3. They had about 75 participants and raised $1,550.

What’s most important to remember about stroke?

  • If you or a loved one experience stroke symptoms, get in for an evaluation immediately. Time is so important when it comes to blood flow to the brain. When lacking oxygen, neurons in the brain die with every second lost. The severity of a stroke can vary, but it’s important to be evaluated immediately.
  • Also: don’t take aspirin if you suspect stroke. Some strokes can be a result of bleeding in the brain. Aspirin could make it worse. Instead, call 911 immediately.

Learn more about stroke causes, risk factors and prevention.

See also:

Novacek, Rebecca 4CDr. Rebecca Novacek has been a neurologist at Altru Health System since 2013. Originally from Minot, North Dakota, she and her husband raise their three girls and farm outside of East Grand Forks. When time allows, Dr. Novacek enjoys riding her horses and being outside.

Summer Satisfiers: Healthy Snacks for Camping, Cook-Outs and Life On-the-Go

700x700_FB_Eating on the runWhether your summer plans include outdoor adventures or activities for your kids or grandchildren, it pays to have your backpack, cooler, car, boat or camper stocked with filling meals and snacks.

Here are some nutritious ideas that cover the spectrum from “some planning required” to “oh no, it’s time to eat!” Try one that fits your summer schedule.

On-the-go snacks

  • Use a bag of frozen grapes as an ice pack to keep cheese sticks cold. Don’t worry about letting the grapes thaw – they hold up and taste delicious no matter how frozen (or not) they are.
  • Instead of stocking up on chips in the snack aisle, opt for popcorn, either pre-popped or microwavable. Look for options with less than 50 calories per cup. Popcorn is a whole grain, and its fiber can help you feel full, even with 100 fewer calories than a cup of chips.
  • Grocery stores aren’t just for kitchen staples anymore. Many retailers are now in the grab-and-go business as well. For example, Hugo’s Family Marketplace has a wide offering of pre-chopped fruits and veggies in their produce department.
  • Don’t count convenience stores out for healthy snacks. Before strolling the shelves of salty, oily and low-protein snacks, check the refrigerated displays. You might be surprised to find fruits, veggies, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and even sandwiches or salads. (Be aware of how much cheese or other fats can be added to these last two.)
  • Many container options exist for transporting your snacks. I especially like divided ones with built-in ice packs. Not only does your food stay cold, you can portion your snacks and keep dressings or dips separate. There are some great ones available for purchase at the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics. 

Camping and cook-outs

  • Smoky salad: Try throwing grilled corn, zucchini or peppers on top of a green salad. You can even give lettuce leaves a quick turn in the heat to give them a crunchy/soft contrast. Like grill flavor, but not grill marks? Wrap your veggies in foil and toss the package on the grill.
  • Juicy Portobello burgers: With their meaty taste and texture, Portobello mushrooms make a great substitute for a beef patty. Sprinkle some cheese on top after grilling and enjoy your fresh, homemade veggie burger.
  • Tangy asparagus: Using two kabob skewers, pierce through the tips and bases of several pieces of asparagus (imagine making a raft with the skewers and asparagus). Grill for several minutes and dip in barbecue sauce. Barbecue potato chips have nothing over these.
  • Corn on the cob does NOT need butter to taste good. Think I’m kidding? Sprinkle paprika and salt on a wedge of lime, rub it on your corn on the cob and see for yourself.
  • Ever grill fruit? Heat intensifies the natural deliciousness of fruit, and we all know homemade desserts are better than packaged and processed treats. Slice and skewer apples, peaches, plums or pineapple. After grilling, drizzle with honey or chocolate syrup and sprinkle with nuts or shredded coconut. You might never go back to store-bought cookies or pie.
  • White hot dog buns = white sugar bombs. Instead, check the aisles for packages of parboiled brown rice or other whole grains. There are plain and pre-seasoned varieties, and they’re easy to cook over the fire. Simply pour into a skillet and splash with water (or cook in a microwave, if you have one handy).
  • Sparkling water, both plain and flavored, is a refreshing alternative to plain H2O. Check the nutrition and ingredient labels to make sure what you choose is calorie-free and, ideally, unsweetened. My personal favorite is LaCroix’s grapefruit flavor.

Whether you’re shuttling kids to and from t-ball practice, lounging at the lake or touring the countryside in a cozy camper, here’s to a happy, healthy and nutritious summer!

Crist, JohnJohn Crist is a Registered Dietitian at Altru Health System. He is especially interested in discussing strategies to create a healthy and positive relationship with food. In his free time, John enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and finding new ways to be active.

6 Tips for a Bright Future Free of Skin Cancer

This guest blog post was written by Dr. Minhal Alhashim, dermatologist at Truyu Aesthetic Center.

Since childhood, I have always been fascinated by how much our skin can act like a mirror and reflect a variety of internal body changes and imbalances. I’ve always loved to help people as well, especially if it means preventing death. Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer in the United States, and melanoma skin cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths, with the rate rising over the last few decades.

Do you want to enjoy healthy skin for life? Here’s the skinny: six tips for a bright future.

  1. Establish a dermatologist. If you have moles, a history of tanning or a family history of skin cancer, it’s important to have a dermatologist you see regularly. Start with a basic skin cancer screening. Annual check-ups are often recommended, but someone with moles or family history should be seen more frequently. With history of skin cancer, regular skin checks are strongly recommended.
  1. Sunscreen is the ultimate anti-aging cream. Prevention is better than treatment. Use a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 and re-apply every couple of hours. Re-apply more often if you’re swimming outdoors. Check your sunscreen from last year. Has it expired? Most have a three-year expiration date. Make sure you’re applying enough. Learn more in this sunscreen infographic provided by the American Academy of Dermatology.
  1. UV rays can harm your skin. Natural sunlight is the main source of UV rays. Tanning beds are another source. UVAs age skin cells, cause wrinkles and skin cancer, and most tanning beds give off large amounts of UVA. UVBs can also cause skin cancer and are the main rays that cause sunburns. Even inside the house or car, UVA rays still go through the windows. (See how one trucker accumulates skin damage on one side of his face after 28 years on the road.)
  1. Sunshine is not the only cause of skin cancer. The sun plays a big role, but it’s not the only environmental cause of skin cancer. Chemical exposure, radiation or smoking can cause skin cancer. Genetics is also a factor. Like drinking green smoothies or running daily, practicing healthy lifestyle and smart sun habits is within our control.
  1. A little bit of sun is good for you. UVB is a natural way to get vitamin D. The best time for UVB exposure is early morning or late evening. This can happen very quickly; you don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D. Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  1. Skin cancer treatment continually evolves. Skin cancer can often be detected early when it is most likely to be cured. Pre-cancerous lesions may be treated topically with blue-light therapy, freezing methods or laser surgery. Early or (less deep) skin cancers can also be treated with topical creams as well as laser surgery.

Be proactive about your skin’s health. Schedule a skin cancer screen at Truyu Aesthetic Center. This quick and easy process involves a skilled dermatologist carefully examining your skin.

Here are eight sneaky places skin cancer can hide.

Sneaky Places Skin Cancers Hides(Click to view full infograpic.)

Alhashim, MinhalDr. Minhal Alhashim is a dermatologist at Truyu Aesthetic Center. She provides dermatology and dermatologic surgery services, with a special interest in psoriasis and surgical excision of skin cancers, cysts and lipomas. Outside of work, Dr. Alhashim spends time with her husband and two boys, teaches Arabic at the University of North Dakota, paints (Arabic calligraphy) and shops for antiques.

Got Joint Pain? Treatment + Prevention Tips from Altru’s Orthopedic Experts

Behind Joint PainJoints work hard. They connect bones, allow movement and provide support to other parts of the body. Joints take a lot of impact and keep you in motion.

A joint that is injured, worn out or affected by disease can cause pain and get in the way of day-to-day activities. Many options exist for treating joint pain, depending on severity and if the pain is acute or chronic. Understanding the best treatment option for you will help you get on the road to recovery faster.

Acute Pain
If pain is sudden or caused by injury, treatment can range from at-home care to medical interventions such as casting, bracing or surgery.

  • At-home Care:
    If your pain and symptoms are less severe, you should be able to manage it at home. Try the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) along with an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as Advil (ensure you take any medication as directed). Ice should be applied in 15-20 minute segments, once every few hours. If pain continues or worsens, consult your physician.
  • Medical Care:
    If your pain is sharp and accompanied by inflammation, tenderness and a sense of heat around the joint, you should schedule an appointment with your provider. If your pain is more severe and resulted from an injury, especially if you are unable to use your joint or it appears deformed, seek immediate care. Visit the emergency room or urgent care when your joint can be assessed. Most likely, the provider will ensure your joint is stabilized and your pain is managed. Then, you will be referred to an orthopedic specialist who will take over your care plan.

sports injuryChronic Pain
If joint pain is something you’ve been dealing with for a long time, talk with your doctor to understand the cause. Some chronic pain is caused by a disease or ailment, such as arthritis, or it could stem from an old injury.

  • Physical Therapy:
    If you have long-term pain, your doctor might recommend physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with you to strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve range of motion. You might also see a physical therapist after having a joint replacement, or when recovering from injury.
  • Weight Loss:
    Chronic joint pain can be more severe if you are overweight. Weight loss through diet and exercise can lessen the impact on your joints, helping to reduce pain. It is important to be cautious when starting a new exercise plan, especially if you are healing from an injury or have a medical condition. Scheduling a consultation with a health and wellness specialist is a good way to safely ease into a new routine.
  • Joint Replacement:
    If your joint pain is chronic (long term) and if affects your day-to-day life, you may consider joint replacement. For the right candidates, joint replacement surgery can be the answer to your chronic pain and can help you get back to an active life.

Keeping your joints healthy is also important. For ways you can take a proactive approach to joint pain, check out these ten tips for avoiding joint pain. For more information on how to care for your joints, and to learn about Altru’s Orthopedics team, visit 

Dr. Darin Leetun has over 15 years of experience in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine. He has been team physician for USA Hockey since February 2010 and for US Ski and Snowboarding since 2009., He accompanied USA hockey team to Germany in 2013. He is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery with specialty certification in sports medicine. In his free time, Dr. Leetun enjoys golf, personal conditioning and hunting.

Choose to Move, Even in the Cold

Choose to MoveBrrr! As the seasons change and temperatures drop, it’s easy to want to go into hibernation mode. To pull on the comfy sweats, slip into fuzzy slippers, pour the hot cocoa and settle under a blanket on the couch.

If the only exercise you’re doing lately is working your thumbs on Candy Crush or the TV remote, now’s the perfect time to shake up your routine. Here are four ideas to get you moving before and during the holidays.

1. Join the Zumbathon. This event (November 15) at the Altru Family YMCA invites participants to honor loved ones who have battled cancer. It will feature a Zumba® Fitness class followed by door prizes and refreshments. All proceeds benefit Altru Cancer Center. (Get all the details here.)

Calories burned in 60 minutes of Zumba: 540*

2. Hit the gym. Maybe Zumba isn’t your thing. That’s okay. From swimming to spinning and everything in between, gyms offer multiple options for group or individual activities. Start scheduling gym time now before the holiday craziness hits. Treat it like an appointment with yourself you cannot miss.

Note: If you’re an Altru employee, take advantage of gym membership discounts at Choice Health & Fitness, Altru Family YMCA, Altru’s Medical Fitness Center or your hometown gym.

Calories burned in 45 minutes of spin class: 358*

3. Sign up and start training. The 2015 Frozen Feat 5k/10k is February 14, just over three months away. Now’s the time to sign up and train through the holidays to keep yourself on track. What’s not to love about a frosty and fun race in the middle of February?

Calories burned in 40 minutes of running: 456*

4. Go shopping. Make your list and check it twice. Squeeze in some cardio while shopping for loved ones (try one of these 9 healthy holiday gift ideas).

After Zumbathon on November 15, snap a selfie with Santa at Scheels.

Calories burned in three hours of walking the stores: 890*

And, when the dreaded white stuff starts flying again, there’s even more fun to be had (and calories to torch).

  • Build a snowman.
  • Go sledding or ice skating.
  • Ski cross country, or even try snowshoeing.

The Greenway of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks has over 15 miles of groomed trails to enjoy. Grand Forks Park District offers both indoor and outdoor skating options, and Grand Forks Downtown Development Association is opening a new stick-free, family focused ice skating rink in Town Square.

Even in the middle of winter in the middle of the nation, there’s no reason to spend your evenings in the middle of the sofa expanding your middle. What kind of active fun are you planning? Leave a comment.

See also: 8 Tips to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

*Calorie calculations based on 150-pound female.

What’s the Best Weight Loss Plan for You?

So you’ve decided it’s time to lose some weight. Maybe it’s a little, maybe it’s a lot. One thing’s for sure: you need to make a change and you are not sure where to start.

There are literally thousands of weight loss tools and programs available, not to mention fad diets, supplements, workout plans, body wraps, smoothies with super powers, juicing… it’s extremely overwhelming. Altru’s Weight Management team provides rules to follow and information on programs they recommend to help you make the right choice.

Four Rules to Follow:

Ann_provider talk

1. Involve Your Doctor
It is important to consult your primary care provider before starting a new weight loss plan. Considering your health picture and weight loss goals, your doctor can provide recommendations on plans that will be safe for you to start.

“A discussion with your primary care provider is essential for you to reach your health and fitness goals,” advises Ann Mason, FNP. “Weight gain can be multifactoral, sometimes caused by more than just sedentary lifestyle and excess calories. Consider discussing other causes of weight gain with your primary care provider, such as certain medication, sleep apnea and hormone imbalances, as these will require different interventions.”

Rachel_group class

2. Consider Your Personality
If you are an introvert, a group program might not work for you. Individual appointments can get you started on the right track and help educate you about food and exercise options based on your needs.

On the other hand, if you know you need accountability, a structured program with weekly check-ins is a good option. “Group classes provide a supportive environment where participants are able to share challenges and successes,” states health and wellness specialist Rachel Aure. “Participants learn from each other and support one another as they work towards similar lifestyle goals. Belonging to a group adds accountability, which can help you stay focused and motivated.“

Jenn_nutrition coaching

3. Be Reasonable
If a plan or diet sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Or, it might not be safe. “If a diet eliminates an entire food group, it may be putting you at risk for nutritional deficiencies,” cautions registered dietitian Jennifer Haugen. “Or, it may involve eating a lot of a certain food, which can be unhealthy. If you are trying to determine if a diet is a good pick, evaluate if it is sustainable long term; often times, fad diets are not.”

If you are confused if something is a fad diet or a healthy diet, work with a trained professional to determine which plan is best for you.

4. Think About The Past
If you’ve tried a plan in the past, what worked well and what didn’t? Did you make excuses not to work out? Was the diet plan too hard to follow? Take these things into consideration as you start your new weight loss journey.


Program Offerings
Altru offers different options for those looking to lose weight and get healthy. Each program looks at your overall health and guides you to healthy choices that fit your individual needs. But, it’s not one size fits all. See where you might fit best based on these guidelines and recommendations.

Nutrition and Fitness Coaching might be right for you if:

  • You prefer individual appointments
  • You want expert advice to get you started, and follow-up along the way
  • You have specific dietary requirements
  • You are new to exercise, or your activity is limited due to a medical condition or injury

If you want expert advice to get you started on the right path, coaching might be the right pick for you. You can work with a dietitian to review your specific needs and develop meal plans, and get exercise advice tailored to you specifically. Or, you can choose nutrition coaching and skip fitness, or vice versa. You guide the content and support you receive, which is a great benefit for those with more specific goals in mind.

Medical Weight Loss and Lifestyle Change Program might be right for you if:

  • You want a structured program with support and education
  • You are motivated by being around others with similar goals
  • You have medical conditions that might require medical monitoring during weight loss
  • You would like to lose around 10 percent of your body weight

This program offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss with nutrition and fitness education and medical monitoring. It includes classwork as well as individual follow up and offers long term monitoring and support. It also incorporates a structured meal plan with meal replacement products during the first 12 weeks of the program.

Weight Loss Surgery might be right for you if:

  • You have a BMI of 35 – 39.9 (Check your BMI here)
  • You are over the age of 18
  • You have health problems such as diabetes, hypertension or sleep apnea
  • You have a BMI over 40, but don’t have other obesity related health issues
  • You have not succeeded in losing weight with other measures, such as diet and exercise

Weight loss surgery, such as LAP-BAND®, is an option for severely obese adults who have failed to lose weight with conservative measures such as diets, exercise or medications. Individuals who choose to have surgery for weight loss must commit to significant changes in their diet and lifestyle for the rest of their lives. “Surgery is not the easy way out,” states weight loss surgery physician assistant Shellie Wright. “Surgery is a tool to help with lifestyle change. Successful weight loss after surgery is less likely without changes in diet, exercise and eating behaviors.”

It is important to understand that this life-changing decision must be carefully considered by you and your provider.

Altru’s Weight Management Program offers solutions for weight loss, weight management and lifestyle change at any level. Our providers, dietitians and exercise specialists offer comprehensive options to fit your needs. Each journey begins with a consultation and health assessment, which will guide you to the right program for you.

To start your journey, contact the Weight Management Program Coordinator at 701.780.6729 or

Living with Food Allergies | New Support Group in Grand Forks

NutsMilk, eggs, peanuts, soy, fish, shellfish.

To some, this may look like part of your grocery list. To others, this list of the most common food allergies waves huge red flags.

On the Rise
Food allergies are on the rise and can affect people of any age. The latest studies tell us that one in 13 children deal with a food allergy on a daily basis. If everyone dealing with food allergies were put together, they would make up the fifth largest state in the US.

Food allergies develop from an abnormal response of the immune system. Instead of learning that a food is not harmful, the immune cells start to view the food as a germ. Every time it is ingested, a series of chemicals is released that causes the symptoms people feel.

Food allergy symptoms range from minor to life-threatening. Symptoms can include hives, swelling of the face, lips and tongue, difficulty breathing or swallowing, lethargy, feeling faint, vomiting and diarrhea. These occur very soon after the food is eaten. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that includes many of these symptoms.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it is best to stop eating the food that may be causing the symptoms and be evaluated by an allergist. At the appointment, bring a detailed list of all foods and their ingredients you were eating when the reaction occurred.

Food allergy testing consists of skin and blood tests that can detect specific allergies. The testing should be relatively pain-free.  An allergist will determine the appropriate testing method. It is important to know if there is a true food allergy, as people have had life-threatening reactions from unknowingly eating something they were allergic to.

If you are allergic to a certain food, it is best to avoid that food altogether. Your allergist will work with you to establish an individual treatment plan in case you would come into contact with your allergy food. Should a life-threatening reaction occur, epinephrine should be immediately given, followed by emergency medical care.

Food Allergies and Daily Life
Receiving a food allergy diagnosis is life-altering. It means changing how you look at everyday activities, such as buying food in the grocery store, making meals with your family and visiting restaurants. Some people react just from being touched after someone has handled the food they are allergic to. It is quite scary to know that you or someone you love can be seriously harmed by food.

Food Allergy Support Group

Beginning October 30, join others in our community who deal with food allergies at Altru’s monthly Food Allergy Support Group. Connect with and learn from local community members who face the same daily challenges as you.

Khan, FatimaDr. Fatima Khan works in Altru’s Allergy and Immunology Department. She is also a clinical associate professor with the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics. She received her medical degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago, and then completed her residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. Her interest in food allergies lead to her pursuit of a fellowship in allergy/immunology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Outside of work, Dr. Khan enjoys biking, music, movies and travel.