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Anytime is a great time to set goals and become the best version of yourself. Now, in the age of COVID-19, it may be an even better time. While not conclusive, several studies suggest smokers who develop COVID-19 are up to 14 times more likely to need intensive treatment. For many, this is just the motivation needed to tackle tobacco habits once and for all.

When you’re a tobacco user, whether it be smoking cigarettes, a cigar, a pipe, or chewing tobacco, it is not just a physical addiction but also a mental addiction. Often it feels like a way to cope with the stress of life’s challenges. So, trying to quit is more than just vowing to put the cigarette down or spit out the chew, it can challenge your entire being.

“One of the first things we explore are the reasons for quitting,” said Aaron Korte, RN, RCEP, CDE, CTTS, who coordinates the Welia Health tobacco cessation program.

“People are often surprised at their reasons for quitting. We talk about the obvious; financial, family, and health. Then as we talk longer, people realize they want to quit for a grandchild or child, or that cigarettes make everything smell bad. The person often explains how cigarettes or chewing tobacco has changed how they interact with their family and friends. They are just plain tired of being controlled by the addiction,” said Aaron.

Aaron Korte, RN, RCEP, CDE, CTTS

Welia Health’s tobacco cessation program

When you’re ready to quit, the Welia Health team is here to help. The program is covered by most insurance plans and others may qualify for reduced or free sessions if coverage is not available.

On average, Aaron meets with folks 3 to 4 times or more, if needed. The first appointment generally takes 45 minutes to review all available options to help people succeed. “I’ve found that the best tobacco cessation plan is one that the person comes up with…and I’m here to support it with the medical and emotional approaches that are available,” said Aaron. Before leaving the first visit, people will have an individualized plan for quitting.

There are several methods for quitting tobacco: nicotine replacement options, prescribed medications, or other holistic choices. Most opt for a combination of them all.

Tools for quitting

  • Nicotine Replacement: Nicotine is an addictive drug in tobacco products. With nicotine replacement, patients use patches, gum or lozenges, all sold over-the-counter to help curb the craving. Another replacement option is used as either an inhaler or a nasal spray. Aaron will work with your provider to get the required prescription. Whichever delivery mechanism is chosen, the core concept is the same, to replace the nicotine while using a “clean” delivery option versus cigarettes or chewing tobacco which utilizes a carcinogen as the delivery method.
  • Other prescription options: There are other prescriptions available to help decrease the person’s need or want for nicotine. Most people can kick their tobacco habit using a prescribed medication in about 2 to 3 weeks, but on the flip side, due to some side effects, it doesn’t work for everyone.

Between your provider’s guidance and the support of the tobacco cessation program support, you will find the best medication to fit your individualized plan.

Holistic options to explore

  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis can work by weakening the desire to quit or strengthening the person’s will to discontinue use. It’s not the state of clucking like a chicken, rather it’s a teacher (the hypnotist) helping you, to convince yourself to do something you are most capable of doing. There is not a ton of evidence showing the effectiveness of this treatment yet is still an option for those willing to try.
  • Acupuncture: With many local businesses providing acupuncture, this is another safe way to help reduce nicotine cravings and other discomforts. Acupuncture uses needles and body-specific points to entice the brain to release endorphins, our feel-good hormones that cope with the effects of withdrawal associated with quitting tobacco. As with all choices, this can work for some but maybe not for all.

Considerations when quitting tobacco

In addition to the issues around one’s personal identity, consider these factors.

  • Quitting can take practice: Most people need to practice learning how to not smoke or chew just as they learned to use their tobacco of choice. “When that person comes back for a follow-up visit and says they are not a smoker (chewer) and they have been feeling the health rewards (better breathing, less smell, less coughing, more money in their bank account) that is very exciting to be a part of!” says Aaron.
  • Weight gain: Food and physical activity are also addressed during the visits. If able, increasing physical activity is important to ward off weight gain. Some people decide to join a fitness center with the money saved from not smoking, others try to work in more activity on a daily basis. Discussing food choices is often very helpful. Helping to choose better snack and meal options can eliminate or decrease the weight gain that can sometimes accompany quitting tobacco.
  • Societal considerations: Many people feel pressure to smoke when they’re in a social situation where they used to smoke or use. Aaron recommends that people might want to take a break from these, at least for a while. He often gives guidance on what to do in social situations where using tobacco is a trigger. Or if alcohol is a cue, Aaron recommends changing the type of drink you typically consume, like swapping a beer for a fruity drink to reduce cravings.
  • And lastly, plain old accountability: People who are trying to quit typically are more successful when they are dedicated to following through and committing to the instructions of their quit plan.

Call 320.225.3356 to schedule an appointment and get on the road to becoming a former tobacco user.


Article by Rachel Cady, MD, Welia Health Women’s Health and OB/GYN provider

While everyone talks about menopause symptoms, it is perimenopause, or the menopause transition (MT) that is usually the most symptomatic for women. Perimenopause begins with menstrual cycle irregularities and ends following one year of absent menses. The average age of perimenopause is 47, and the average age of menopause is 51-52 year old. MT lasts about 4-8 years, but tends to be longer in smokers and in those with earlier symptom onset.

Common perimenopause symptoms

Below are the most common symptoms you’ll experience during perimenopause:

  • Menstrual cycle changes
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal/vulvar dryness with painful sex
  • Poor sleep
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating and concerns about one’s memory
  • Mood changes, depression and anxiety

Menstrual cycles vary depending on if ovulation (release of egg) occurred. About 25% of menstrual cycles in the perimenopause are ovulatory. Ovarian follicle aging progresses in the perimenopause. Progesterone and estrogen levels are extremely variable, which changes bleeding patterns.

Very heavy bleeding or bleeding in between periods are abnormal, and you should schedule a visit with your clinician. Cycles in early perimenopause are 7 or more days shorter, while cycles in the late perimenopause are at least 60 days apart.

Hot flashes that occur during the perimenopause are the result of a narrowing in the brain’s thermoregulatory center. This area of the brain is estrogen sensitive. When estrogen levels decline, the body is not able to accommodate as quickly. Therefore, skin redness, sweating, sometimes anxiety, and waking up at night result. About 75% of women report hot flashes with the average duration of about 5-7 years.

Metabolism goes down about 25% for perimenopausal women, which commonly results in weight gain. Most women have no idea this is going to happen, and are therefore not prepared.

So, what other things do you have to look forward to during MT?

  1. Bone loss starts in perimenopause.
  2. Risk factors for heart disease increases in the MT, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Okay, so those weren’t really “things to look forward to.” But I can tell you something good!

Being prepared helps lessen symptoms

The latest-and-greatest data clearly shows that by being proactive, planning ahead, being open to treatment options, and being prepared, you can help yourself be healthier in the postmenopause.

Women on average are living one third of their lives postmenopause. The New York Times recently referred to perimenopause as “The Puberty of Midlife,” and most importantly, the conversation is not being heard enough.

Women are hungry for accurate information pertaining to health. Perimenopause is not “doomsday.” By recognizing what is normal, understanding common symptoms and their causes/treatments, and having a preventive/proactive mindset, you can largely lessen these symptoms. Perimenopause remains a wonderful time to check in with your clinician to help in this process.

Welia Health’s Women’s Health providers can help you navigate your transition through perimenopause to menopause. Meet our Women’s Health providers. Sign onto MyChart to schedule an appointment.


Preventing falls in Minnesota isn’t just about staying safe on icy sidewalks–it’s more than doing the “Penguin Shuffle,” taking shorter, slower, flat steps like a penguin on the ice. In fact, most falls happen in our homes.

Older adults are more at risk for falls than any other demographic–and they’re more likely to suffer a fatal fall. In 2016, more than 25,000 U.S. adults aged 75 or above died from a fall. So, preventing falls can save lives.

What you can do to prevent falls

There are many ways to prevent yourself from falling. Below are seven tips:

  1. Be active. Yes, physical activity can put you in a position where you could fall. But being sedentary is a bad alternative, as inactivity makes you weaker and more prone to falls.
  2. Improve balance. Walking is important, but it doesn’t prevent falls. You need exercises specifically designed to improve balance. Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art, is the best exercise to prevent falls. In addition to improving your balance, Tai Chi increases what’s called your “postural stability,” so when you’re off balance, you can catch yourself and not fall.
  3. Check medications. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, have side effects that can make you feel drowsy, dizzy, confused or light-headed. In turn, these side effects may cause you to lose your balance, feel unsteady on your feet or less sharp, so you may not be paying attention to tripping hazards. Common culprits include medications for pain, sleep or high blood pressure. Talk with your pharmacist about all your medications and potential side effects, specifically ones that increase your risk of falling.
  4. Make home improvements. Remove clutter from your path at home, particularly from the stairs. Rearrange furniture and hide cords, so you have a clear path to move around easier. Speaking of tripping, remove throw rugs and tape down carpets. Brighten your apartment or house. Replace burned-out light bulbs immediately and consider switching from traditional light bulbs to LED bulbs, as they use less electricity, last longer, and can save you money in the long run. Use a non-slip mat in the tub or shower, a bath bench, or a shower stool, and consider installing a grab bar by the toilet and in the tub or shower.
Man cutting and applying an anti-skid carpet tape on area rug.
Consider using anti-skid carpet tape on area rugs.
  1. Check your eyesight. Your vision changes with age. Your eyesight might be less clear, depth can become harder to judge, or it can take longer to adjust to light and dark. Your prescription can change. Plus, as you get older, you’re more at risk for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other issues. So have your eyes checked at least once a year by an eye doctor and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  2. Slow down. Rushing puts you at risk of falling. Unload your car over several small trips. Carrying too much may block your vision or cause you to lose your balance. Take your time when getting in and out of your car or crossing the street. Watch out for cracks in steps and sidewalks or changes in elevation. Look out for pets and kids–and their toys!
  3. Watch your feet. Be sure to wear proper footwear and avoid slippers or flip-flops. Boots and shoes should have non-skid soles and should fit snugly with either laces or Velcro fasteners. For extra protection on ice, you can consider a product like Yaktrax to put on over your shoes or boots. Take care of your feet by having your nails cut and dealing with corns, calluses, bunions, and ulcers. Maintain good circulation in your feet, ankles, and legs by doing foot exercises like moving your toes up and down and turning your ankles in a circle. If you have foot pain or problems, contact your Welia Health family medicine provider or podiatrist.
Man, kneeling in the snow, putting ice cleats on his hiking boots
Adding “ice cleats” can provide an extra level of anti-skid to snow boots.

For most people, preventing falls requires addressing all these issues, not just one. So, look across your life for ways to lower your risk of falling or talk with a Welia Health provider.

Learn more about fall prevention through STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries), a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative.


With the holiday season came influenza–the flu–full force here in Minnesota. But just because it’s already here doesn’t mean it’s too late to get a flu vaccine.

Welia Health providers vaccinate through the end of the winter and into the spring. In fact, we don’t stop vaccinating until April or May because the flu can hit at any time. Plus, with many different strains of the flu, the flu shot is your best protection. So even if you’ve already had the illness, you should still get vaccinated if you aren’t already.

The timing of the flu varies from year to year. At Welia Health, we’re starting to see the flu virus in our Emergency Department, which seems a little early this year. There have been years where we haven’t seen any significant influenza until well after the New Year.

Welia Health sign noting certain areas of the hospital and clinics reserved for patients with flu-like symptoms.

To help protect our patients, visitors and staff, we’ve started putting signs in our entryways to encourage people who are sick to wear masks and sit in designated areas in our waiting rooms. Unfortunately, our employees get sick as well, and when they do, they are not allowed to work until their symptoms have cleared up.

Where to get a flu shot

To get your flu shot, call any one of our clinics to make an appointment or stop into either Mora Community Pharmacy or Pine City Community Pharmacy (you need to be 18 years of age or older). The flu shot is your best protection against the flu. Plus, it protects people in our communities who are unable to get a flu shot, such as infants under six months or people with certain medical conditions.

Flu prevention

In addition to getting a flu shot, the most considerable flu-prevention measure is to maintain good hygiene. More specifically, you want to:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean surfaces that people touch, such as door handles and countertops, if someone in your house or workplace is sick.
  • Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze by coughing/sneezing into a tissue or into your sleeve. If you do cough, it’s a good time to wash your hands.

Also, try to avoid people who are sick and remind your children and family members about practicing good hygiene.

Flu symptoms

The flu often comes with chills, body aches and a fever. Many people associate vomiting with the flu, but that’s not often the case. The flu can progress into a respiratory infection, and a cough can develop, which is how the flu spreads.

Flu symptoms can sometimes last a week or two, but if you have received the flu vaccine, the length of time you are sick may be shortened, if you get sick at all.

Flu treatment

Because the flu is a virus, antibiotics are not prescribed unless an infection develops, for instance, a sinus infection. Welia Health providers will often give antiviral medication to high-risk patients such as the elderly, pregnant women, very young children and people who have other illnesses such as asthma or cancer. Antiviral medication is most effective in the first couple of days of a person having the flu. So, people in these high-risk categories–and their caregivers–should be particularly vigilant if the flu is suspected.

We recommend that people see their provider if they’re concerned about their symptoms. Patients should go to the Emergency Department if they’re struggling to breathe or having difficulty staying hydrated.

So, get your flu shot, maintain good hygiene and avoid people who are sick. If you take all these precautions and you still get the flu, we’re here for you at Welia Health.

For more information about the flu, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise. Sports medicine is not just for professional athletes.

Welia Health’s Dr. Thomas Mullin talks about sports medicine.

When you injure yourself during exercise or while playing a sport, you want to return to your routine and athletic pursuits as soon as possible. Sports medicine doctors have specialized training to help you do just that. They’re also experienced with preventing illness and injury in active kids, adults, and people with physically demanding jobs.

Promoting a team approach in sports medicine

A physician often leads a sports medicine team. Most sports medicine doctors are board-certified in a specialty such as family medicine, orthopedics or pediatrics, and then they pursue additional training in sports medicine.

There are other non-physician medical professionals who are critical to delivering care in sports medicine. They include physical therapists, certified athletic trainers and nutritionists. They each play an essential role in your care:

  • Physical therapists help you rehabilitate and recover from injuries.
  • Certified athletic trainers offer rehabilitative exercises to help you regain strength and develop programs to prevent future injury.
  • Registered dieticians help you with needed weight loss or weight gain, and they offer dietary advice to help you improve how well your body is functioning.

Sports medicine doctors, physical therapists, certified athletic trainers and dieticians work together to help you get back to your physical activities as quickly as possible.

Common injuries treated in sports medicine

Being active and playing sports are so good for you physically and mentally. But there is an inherent risk of injury. Below are some of the common injuries we see in sports medicine:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Fractures
  • Knee and shoulder injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Exercise-induced asthma
  • Heat illness
  • Concussions
  • Eating disorders
  • Cartilage injuries

After we treat your injury, we will also help you prevent future problems. We can also help you maximize your performance with the proper nutrition and exercises.

If you think you can benefit from seeing a member of our sports medicine team, please call us at 320.679.1313.


Milk does the body good whether you’re 10 or 50, and for a similar reason: bone health. The big difference is that at 10 years old you’re building bone strength, at 50, you’re trying to preserve it.

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become brittle and fragile, and it’s more common in women than men. Bone fractures attributed to osteoporosis affect an estimated 1.5 million people annually. They can seriously impact one’s health and quality of life.

Bone density and osteoporosis

Doctors can screen for osteoporosis by testing your bone density or how strong your bones are. Bone density, or bone mineral density (BMD), is the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue. Testing BMD is the only way to know for sure that you have osteoporosis. At Welia Health, we use a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry or DEXA, which is the most common test for osteoporosis. Doctors measure bone density at the hip and spine, as these areas provide a good idea of whether you’re likely to fracture other bones in your body.

Screening recommendations

There has been some controversy over osteoporosis screening, largely surrounding a perception that pharmaceutical companies were pushing to lower recommended screenings to increase demand for osteoporosis drugs to drive profits. Medical associations such as the American Academy of Family (AAFP) Physicians and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and have similar guidelines, which we follow at Welia Health.

American Academy of Family Physicians

  • Recommends against DEXA screening in women younger than 65 years and men younger than 70 years with no risk factors

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology
(2012/Reaffirmed 2014)

  • Recommends BMD testing with DEXA beginning at age 65 years in all women
  • Recommends selective screening in postmenopausal women younger than 65 years who have osteoporosis risk factors or an adult fracture

Risk factors for osteoporosis

Around age 50, both women and men experience increased bone loss. Women tend to lose more bone as they transition into menopause, given the loss of estrogen. The hormone plays an important role in replacing older bone with newer dense bone, throughout a woman’s life. (In men, testosterone converts to estrogen to build bone mass.)

Osteoporosis in 4 stages
Osteoporosis in four stages.
From left to right: healthy bone, osteopenia, osteoporosis, severe osteoporosis.

Although bone loss starts to occur around 50, the medical guidelines don’t call for screening until age 65, unless there are risk factors beyond sex, age and race (you’re at greatest risk if you’re white or of Asian descent). Your Welia Health provider can help you determine whether you have risk factors that merit a screening before 65 years old. Some of the risk factors include:

Family history. Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk, especially if your mother or father fractured a hip.

Body frame size. Women (and men) with small body frames are at higher risk because they might have less bone mass to draw on as they grow older.

Thyroid problems. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss, which can occur with an overactive thyroid or taking too much thyroid hormone medication to treat an underactive thyroid. Osteoporosis has also been associated with overactive parathyroid and adrenal glands.

Dietary factors. Osteoporosis is more likely to occur in people who have had low calcium intake throughout their lives, as the latter contributes to lower BMD. Eating disorders or severely restricting food intake can also weaken bones. Gastrointestinal surgery can also increase osteoporosis risk because when you reduce the size of your stomach or remove part of the intestine, it limits the amount of surface area available to absorb nutrients, such as calcium.

Steroids and other medications. Long-term use of oral or injected corticosteroid medications (e.g. prednisone and cortisone) disrupts the bone-rebuilding process. Other medications connected to osteoporosis risk include medications used to treat:

  • Seizures
  • Gastric reflux
  • Cancer
  • Transplant rejection

Medical conditions. Osteoporosis can also be more common in people who have:

  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Lupus
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Alcoholism

Lifestyle choices. Many of the risk factors above are out of your control. But some are not. The lifestyle choices that affect your osteoporosis risk include:

  • Inactivity: People who are sedentary have a higher risk of osteoporosis. Any weight-bearing exercise and activities that promote balance and good posture are helpful for your bones. But walking, running, jumping, dancing and weightlifting seem particularly helpful.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: Regularly drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Tobacco use: Tobacco contributes to weak bones, though its exact role in osteoporosis isn’t clear.

If you’re concerned about osteoporosis, talk to your Welia Health provider and learn what you can do today to lower your risk or to determine if a screening is right for you.


Conventional mammograms offer a two-dimensional (2D) view of breast tissue. The technology creates the 2D image from two X-ray images of each breast. Conventional mammograms are an effective tool to detect breast cancer and are currently the standard of care.

But three-dimensional (3D) mammography or digital tomosynthesis is proving to be even better—and the technology is now available at Welia Health.

Three-dimensional mammography combines 2D mammogram images with additional 3D views. Research studies show that 3D mammograms identify more cancers than traditional 2D mammograms. They also lower the number of false positives.

False positives occur when a mammogram shows an abnormal area that appears to be cancer, but ultimately is not. While false positives in the end are good (no cancer!), they lead to additional appointments, tests, and procedures—which means more mental, physical, and economic costs.

The benefits of 3D mammography

At Welia Health, we’re your partners in health. We equip ourselves with the best tools for your care, and a 3D mammogram is the latest advancement in breast imaging. Specifically, screening for breast cancer with a 3D mammogram can:

A comparison of 2D and 3D mammography.
A comparison of 2D (left) and 3D (right) mammography.
  • Decrease need for follow-up imaging: A 3D mammogram machine creates both 3D and 2D images. Both types of images add value. Because the 3D image is an enhanced view of the breast tissue, radiologists can examine any abnormalities in closer detail without follow-up imaging.
  • Better detect breast cancer in dense breast tissue: Breasts consist of milk glands, (glandular tissue), milk ducts, and fatty and fibrous connective tissue. The latter give breasts their size and shape and hold the other tissues in place. Breasts that have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue, but not much fat, are considered dense. Both dense breast tissue and cancers appear white on a standard mammogram, which may make breast cancer more difficult to detect in dense breasts. But a 3D image of dense breast tissue enables physicians to see beyond the dense areas of tissue.
  • Increase in cancer detection compared to 2D mammography: A 2013 prospective randomized study (or one that examines a group of people or cohort randomly) compared 3D and 2D mammography in more than 12,000 patients. Researchers determined a 27 percent increase in cancer detection with 3D mammography. Another 2013 study of more than 7,000 patients showed an increase in cancer detection of 50 percent.

Scheduling a mammogram

In general, Welia Health physicians recommend that our patients start having annual mammograms at age 40. However, medical history and individual breast cancer risk could make earlier screening prudent. If you’re concerned about breast cancer screenings or have questions about the procedure, you should reach out to your physician. Together you can determine what makes sense for you.

To schedule a mammogram, call Welia Health at 800.245.5671 or our Imaging Department at 320.225.3447. Three-dimensional mammograms are offered at Mora and Pine City facilities.


Concussions in youth sports are increasingly considered a public health crisis. As a result, there are multiple public health efforts aimed at combating the effects of youth concussions. These initiatives range from modifying individual safety behaviors such as underreporting concussions to changing the rules of sports to reduce exposure to potentially harmful head impacts.

National guidelines

In 2015, the U.S. Soccer Federation issued guidelines that children 10 years or under are not allowed to head the ball in practice or games. Players 11 to 13 are only allowed to head the ball during practice, not games.

That same year, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement about football after its national conference that includes seven recommendations, from proper enforcement of game rules by officials and coaches to delaying the age at which tackling is introduced. (See the National Football League website for the entire list of recommendations.)

In March 2019, USA Hockey updated its concussion management program and its return-to-play forms for the 2019-2020 season. To learn more about the changes, how they’ll be implemented and how they’ll enhance the youth hockey experience, see USA Hockey’s website.

HEADS UP initiative

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a program called the HEADS UP Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to ensure the health and safety of young athletes. The initiative provides information and training around concussions for coaches, parents, and athletes alike. The HEADS UP initiative provides critical details related to preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion.

Many Minnesota youth sports associations, such as the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association, require their coaches to complete the HEADS UP free online course.

Welia Health, prevention and treatment

Welia Health’s Sports Medicine specialists work with young athletes, local coaches, and high school athletic departments to prevent injuries including concussions.

In the event that a concussion is suspected, our team is experienced in concussion management. A comprehensive assessment includes memory testing, cognitive function, balance, and a vestibular assessment (commonly known as VOMS). In addition, an advanced, scientifically validated computerized concussion management system called ImPACT® (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is also offered.


Joseph T. Mork, OD

With prenatal health appointments to attend, diapers to buy, and other baby prep to do, expectant mothers rarely consider their ocular or eye health. But they should, particularly if they’re experiencing issues.

Be aware of eye health during and just after pregnancy

During pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations can lead to eye prescription changes* and blurry Mom’s vision. After pregnancy, the focus is often on the health of the baby’s eyes, and rightly so. But the mother’s ocular health is often more at risk immediately after the birthing process (the first couple of months postpartum) than the baby’s.

Ocular complications for the mother can include, but are not limited to:

  • Preeclampsia/eclampsia (blood vessel issues)
  • Central Serous Chorioretinopathy (a different form of blood vessel issues)
  • Inflammatory diseases of the eyes such as Uveitis

Schedule eye exam two months postpartum

Given these potential postpartum complications, expectant mothers should schedule an eye exam two months after giving birth, as hormone levels tend to regulate after six-to-eight weeks. Of course, if there are notable vision issues, they should schedule that exam sooner rather than later. We recommend scheduling the appointment before the baby’s born because it’s easy for moms to forget their own health needs when they’re busy caring for a newborn.

Call the Welia Health Eye Center at 320.679.2020 or schedule online using MyChart.

* Eye doctors often don’t change the prescriptions until after pregnancy unless vision issues are significantly hindering everyday life activities.


“Keeping the doctor away” is not a medical center’s best practice or a wise decision for anyone. But eating “an apple a day” is a worthy pursuit. At Welia Health, we’re here for you, and we’re confident that your apple consumption will never replace your need for our care.

Curiosity about the age-old adage sparked our research into its origins. The first recorded use was in the 1860s in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The initial phrasing was, “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” The saying evolved into “an apple a day, no doctor to pay” and “an apple a day sends the doctor away.” The version we know came to be in 1922.

Ancient concept, modern research

Ancient Romans and Anglo-Saxons recognized the health benefits of apples, according to Caroline Taggart, author of “An Apple a Day: Old-Fashioned Proverbs and Why They Still Work.” The fruit also appeared in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, one of the world’s oldest holistic (or “whole-body”) healing systems, starting about 1,500 years ago in southern Asia.

Fast-forward thousands of years, and doctors and researchers continue to examine the health benefits of the popular fruit. In 2011, a Dutch study showed that eating apples and pears might help prevent stroke. The following year, an Ohio State University study of healthy, middle-aged adults showed that consuming an apple a day for four weeks lowered levels of bad cholesterol by 40 percent.

Importance of eating fruits (and vegetables)

Fruits and vegetables provide our bodies with critical nutrients that help us stay healthy and ward off disease. Regular consumption of fruit is linked to reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease (especially coronary heart disease), stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and some of the functional declines experienced with aging.

Plus, diets that include enough potassium from fruits and vegetables also help reduce the chance of developing kidney stones and may help lower the effects of bone loss. Fruits are also low in calories and are often part of a weight-loss diet.

Different fruits and vegetables have distinct nutritional benefits and offer varying levels of the vitamins we need. For example, apples are low in calories and sodium and high in fiber, and Vitamin C. Carrots are high in beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. They also help lower cholesterol levels and improve eye health.

Use the chart below to identify the nutrients your body needs, their benefits, health issues related to deficiencies, and the best sources.

Ways to increase fruit and vegetable consumption

Current nutritional guidelines recommend eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Here are five ideas on how to get to those five servings:

  1. Buy more, eat more: Make sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables in your shopping cart. During every shopping trip, take note of how much of the cart is filled with fruits and vegetables.
  2. Prepare them right away. After shopping, wash and chop your just-bought raw or frozen veggies and store them in the fridge, preferably in glass or BPA-free containers. Then, they’re ready to add to a meal. But don’t wash fruit until you’re ready to eat it.
  3. Include a fruit or vegetable at every meal. Add it as a side or as part of the meal itself. Be creative and experiment with different combinations.
  4. Blend your breakfast. You can blend up a healthy, fruit- and fiber-packed breakfast in one minute. To save even more time during the work week, assemble smoothie ingredients over the weekend into individual servings. Then, just dump the contents into the blender, add a liquid (milk, almond milk, water or low-calorie juice work well), and press blend.
  5. Snack on them. Fruits and vegetables make excellent snacks. They’re portable and healthy. Grab an apple and go.

To learn more about nutrition and how to adjust your diet to meet your health goals, contact Welia Health’s Nutrition Services and schedule an appointment today.

One more thing

Apple Orchard

Head to an orchard or farm this fall for a fun and family-friendly activity.

Stock up on apples. You know what they say about apples! Here are links to area orchards:

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