Essentia Health, Health + Wellness Features

Seven Ways to Love Yourself and Live Your Best Life with Help from Essentia Health

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Post commissioned by Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, one of Up North Parent’s sponsors.

February is all about LOVE. Love for your significant other and love for your family…but what about love for ourselves?

Practice self-care!” has been the battle cry of adults for years but these same people also realize that “saying” they want to commit to taking better care of their physical and emotional health is one thing…actually doing it is a whole other ball game.

Luckily, resources and options to take better care of ourselves are plentiful and even as close as our own zip code. The physicians and experts at Essentia Health stay true to their tagline of “here with you” by offering the following Seven Ways to Love Yourself for residents of the Lakes Area and beyond.

Seven Ways to Love Yourself and Live Your Best Life

#1-Heart Health with Tobacco Cessation:

Quitting smoking is a popular New Year’s Resolution for many people, but the success rate for those who quit “cold turkey” is far from encouraging.

Thanks to Essentia Health’s Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists, long-term success is even more possible than ever.

The UpNoPa moms had the privilege of doing an extended story on this topic last month that included a success story of a patient who is currently working with Essentia’s Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists. Read the full story here.

#2-Mammography (Get one!):

Yearly mammograms for women over the age of 40 are one of the most important tools in the fight against breast cancer because they detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.

Now, the latest technology for breast cancer screening is available in the Breast Centers of Excellence at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center and the Essentia Health-Baxter Clinic. Both locations now offer three-dimensional (3-D) mammography; a new radiology process that captures multiple images of each breast from many different angles and provides “slice” images of the breast that can be scrolled through like pages in a book.

For those worried about the cost of standard mammograms, innovative programs like SAGE provide a no-cost option for the uninsured/underinsured. Read more about Essentia Health’s Breast Health Services here.

#3-FIT Test Screening for Colon Health:

Essentia Health patients will live an additional 18,525 years thanks to the organization’s efforts to increase the number of patients being screened for colon cancer. Over the past few years, Essentia has increased the percentage of patients screened by eight percent and it is a statistic that they are very proud of.

Dr. Dianne Kendall
Essentia Health’s Dr. Dianne Kendall

“Essentia Health’s objective is to encourage our patients who are age 50 and older to have adequate screening and be proactive about their colon health,” shared Dr. Dianne Kendall. “One way to do this is with routine colonoscopies that identify and treat lesions and polyps in the colon that could be problematic in the future.  As with any form of cancer, early detection with colon cancer is critical.”

Dr. Kendall went on to acknowledge that routine colonoscopies are rarely high on people’s To-Do Lists even though it is a positive step in keeping themselves healthy. For the patients who are hesitant to schedule a routine colonoscopy, she recommends Essentia’s FIT test assessment program.

“The FIT tests allow patients to collect stool in the privacy of their own home and bring it into our lab,” she advised. “Done once a year, the test can find early cancers and some large polyps before they become cancer. Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. That’s why Essentia Health’s providers are adamant about the early screening and doing our best to promote the screening that can potentially save someone’s life.”

#4 Incontinence – you deserve a better life:

About 17% of women and 16% men over 18 years old have overactive bladder (OAB) and an estimated 12.2 million adults have urge incontinence. It’s an issue that often comes with embarrassment and frustration, but Essentia Health’s assessment and treatment plans allow patients to gain the freedom and confidence they once had.

The Essentia Health physicians know that the first step is to determine what is causing incontinence. Therapies and treatments for incontinence patients include a wide range of options from lifestyle changes and weight loss to medications, non-invasive treatments like Botox to relax bladder muscles, implantable devices like the InterStim device and minor surgical procedures.

Once the root caused is determined, an effective treatment plan can be put into motion.

#5 Pain Medicine Facts and Therapies:

Pain is debilitating.

Whether it’s acute or chronic, pain slows us down and affects the way we function on the job and in relationships.

Chronic pain sufferers struggle to deal with reduced independence and declining physical and mental well-being.

Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Brainerd Clinic’s pain medicine doctors and other specialists see people for a wide variety of concerns, from headaches and foot pain to severe back pain. As a team, they also work with patients and caregivers to create a customized treatment plan and provide tools and knowledge to help you manage pain.

Dr. Nancy Henry-Socha
Essentia Health’s Dr. Nancy Henry-Socha

“When patients come to us with pain, we spend time looking at the root cause of their discomfort,” Dr. Nancy Henry-Socha noted. “Pain can be caused by many musculoskeletal issues from arthritis to a slipped disc. Our job is to assess the source of our patient’s pain and then create a strategy to help them feel better. These treatments plans include a wide range of tactics from physical therapy to major surgery. But our goal is always to reduce or eliminate a patient’s pain and increase their quality of life.”

Platelet-rich plasma therapy from Essentia Health

Dr. Henry-Socha went on to share exciting and innovative therapies available Brainerd Lakes Area resident like Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). “PRP is a very effective tool to relieve pain and an alternative to steroid injections. Sometimes people get relief fairly quickly, such as when a PRP injection is used for arthritis in a joint, and other times pain relief takes longer – such as when treating tendon injuries. It’s just more ways Essentia Health is continually striving to help patients can heal faster and feel better quicker.”

#6-Low-Dose Lung Screening:

Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer in the United States and 90% of lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking. Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center now offers options to help doctors find and treat these cancers earlier.

Based on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation of low-dose CT scans for heavy smokers from ages 50-80, Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center’s Low Dose CT Scan offering is one of the easiest exams available taking less than 10 seconds. Patients don’t need to take any medicine and no needles are used as well.

Essentia Health has the doctors available in every specialty needed to deal with a lung cancer diagnosis and their team of certified oncology nurse navigators are also here to guide patients through the entire process.

#7-Advanced Care Planning: Ensuring Your Wishes Are Known and Honored If You Are Unable to Speak for Yourself

Death and dying are never easy topics to discuss with anyone, much less family members.

But the reality is that almost 75% of people don’t die at home and people without advance care planning are moved an average of three times in the last few weeks of life. Essentia Health encourages individuals and families to have the conversation and create an Advance Directive to ensure you or your loved ones’ wishes are known and honored in case someone is unable to speak for themselves in the last stages of life.

No matter your age, take the time to make a plan.

Essentia Health and Crow Wing Energized invites Lakes Area resident to join them for a very special Got Plans? Advanced Planning Educational Seminar on April 13, 2018. Go here for more information and registration details.

 Got Plans? Advanced Planning
Got Plans? Advanced Planning

Essentia Health is guided by the values of quality, hospitality, respect, justice, stewardship, and teamwork. From emergency care to convenient care, family care to speciality practice, Essentia Health delivers on its promise to be “Here With You” in the Brainerd Lakes Area.  Learn more at

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