Eastern Minnesota

Eastern Minnesota

Metabolic syndrome

After years of trying fad diets – from grapefruit to starvation – 63-year-old Linda of Wabasha, Minnesota, was ready to concede defeat. With each “lose-fat-fast” claim came momentary victory, followed by increased frustration and weight gain. This all-too-familiar pattern became a way of life.

Struggling and stressed, she enrolled in a Metabolic Syndrome Study at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Wabasha. Unlike the other weight-loss programs, the study didn’t promise a quick fix, but rather a lasting change. Instead of starving herself, Linda learned to eat the right foods and discovered enjoyment at the gym. Today, Linda is a victor, not a victim.

Although Linda lost 65 pounds and 11 inches, the most positive results of her lifestyle change can be seen in her overall health. Linda significantly reduced her medications; she lowered her risk for heart disease and diabetes; and she feels great.

“I needed a change of heart before I could be successful,” Linda said. “I knew I needed to make lifelong, lifestyle changes. When I finally realized – and accepted – the fact that it wouldn’t be easy and it wouldn’t be fast, I was ready to take the first step.”

Saint Elizabeth’s Wellness Center’s Metabolic Syndrome Study proves that early intervention with a structured and supervised program of education, exercise, and support can reduce the risk of or prevent disease and improve overall health and quality of life.

Metabolic Syndrome is a group of abnormal indicators related to the body’s metabolism. These indicators include:

  • excess body fat, mainly around the waist
  • high triglycerides
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood glucose
  • low HDL cholesterol

Individuals with three or more of these indicators may have Metabolic Syndrome, and are at increased risk for developing heart disease, stroke, and / or diabetes.

Studies estimate that one in four adults has Metabolic Syndrome. The prevalence of the condition increases sharply with age, affecting more than 40 percent of individuals over age 50 and half of those over age 60.

At the start of the program, wellness center staff gathered baseline measurements for her blood pressure, heart rate, lipid panel, blood sugar, weight, abdominal girth, and body-mass index. Other evaluations included measurements of her functional capacity, health history, medication use, nutrition assessment, and depression / psychosocial screening.

Using this information, the staff helped Linda develop realistic goals.

Over the next eight weeks, Linda attended 24 supervised exercise sessions at Saint Elizabeth’s Wellness Center, where she used a wide variety of fitness equipment including treadmills, ellipticals, nusteps, stationary bikes, and weight stations.
Know the signs
“We build an exercise program around the personal needs and expectations of each participant,” explained Carla Theusch, MS, exercise physiologist. “We want them to succeed, so the program offers both education and encouragement.”

Supplementing the exercise component are seven classes taught by cardiac rehab specialists, pharmacists, dietitians, nurses, and certified diabetes educators. These classes raise awareness about the impact of chronic diseases and teach participants how to modify risk factors, read food labels, count calories and carbohydrates, reduce stress, manage medications, and more.

“There is so much false information out there. It’s hard to know what is true,” Linda added. “The classes helped me to differentiate myth from fact. Now, when I go to the grocery store, I understand how to shop for healthy choices.”

After participants complete the initial eight-week program, they can progress to the maintenance phase which allows them continued access to the wellness center for supervised exercise sessions or they can choose to exercise on their own. Participants also report for re-screens at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months. Social connections and support from staff and fellow enrollees are important for long-term change.

“At this point, the lifestyle change should be a habit,” said Paula Thompson, registered dietitian. “Study participants should have formed positive routines that they apply to their everyday lives. Our role is to support their new habits, encourage their progress, and celebrate their successes.”

“I never thought I would actually look forward to exercising. We laugh. We joke. We have fun. I’ve made new friends and these friends hold me accountable,” Linda said.

“Because we exercise the same time and days, we watch out for each other. When someone doesn’t show up, we call and ask why – because we care. I probably would have missed an exercise session or two if it hadn’t been for a firm nudge of encouragement. I owe a lot to Saint Elizabeth’s and the wellness center staff. I’m feeling good enough to do everything I love. No other diet came with that kind of promise.”

For more information about prevention and wellness initiatives or to inquire about this study, contact Carla Theusch, 651.565.5519, or Paula Thompson, 651.565.5568.

Saint Elizabeth’s offers a valuable lifeline

For over 22 years, Saint Elizabeth’s Auxiliary has been offering Lifeline Personal Response Service to area residents. This lifeline enables people to remain in their homes, maintain their independence and dignity, and minimize the risks associated with living alone.

Today, more than 162 subscribers from Wabasha and surrounding communities are just a push-of-a-button away from immediate access to help and assistance – though, in reality, thousands of installations have been completed by volunteers since the program began in 1986. “I enjoy providing this service,” said Marie Passe. “I’ve met lots of great people. Most of our Lifeline clients are seniors who want to remain independent and live in their own homes.”

Lifeline is a valuable tool for anyone who may need assistance. Units have been installed in the homes of disabled residents or those recovering from surgery or a lengthy illness.

“Pressing the personal help button worn around the neck or wrist gives subscribers immediate access to Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center call center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Passe. Nurses at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center answer the calls, assess the caller’s needs, and respond by contacting a responder who may be a family member, neighbor, or friend. If the need is more serious, an ambulance may be called

If the alarm sounds but the client cannot communicate, a responder is contacted to check on the client. Some clients have fallen and simply need assistance getting back on their feet. Other calls are more serious and require emergency services.

Regardless, Lifeline means confident assurance and peace of mind for all. Lifeline Personal Response Service connects to a landline phone jack and is powered by an electrical outlet. Subscribers need to wear the wristband or pendant AT ALL TIMES. “The system is useless if the subscriber fails to wear the button,” said Passe.

Subscribers do not need to be a patient of, or affiliated with, Saint Elizabeth’s to utilize the Lifeline program. The client and first responders decide where to seek medical attention if necessary.

Wabasha Resources and Events

Learn more about the following programs offered by Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center:
Tobacco Independence Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .651.565.5932
Medication Therapy Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 651.565.5527
Metabolic Syndrome Study / Prevention Programs . . . . . . 651.565.5519
Lifeline. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 651.565.3682 or 651.565.5587
Nutrition Counseling, Weight Loss, & Diabetes Self-Management. . . . . . . 651.565.5568

Save the dates
Saint Elizabeth’s offers these October events

Women’s Night Out
Thursday, October 1, 5 p.m.
Wabasha-Kellogg High School, Wabasha County
Featuring “Savor Your Life Today” with Chere Bork New this year... concurrent sessions on menopause, depression, healthy lifestyles, and more!

Family Health & Safety Jamboree
Saturday, October 3, 9 a.m. – Noon
The Old Mittle Schule, 611 Broadway, Wabasha
Educational booths, games, and activities focus on child and teen health, wellness, and safety issues. Watch for more details coming soon. Sponsored by Wabasha County Organizations and Agencies.

Ring Around Wabasha
Saturday, October 10, 8 a.m.
Malone Park, Wabasha
This walking event supports breast cancer prevention and honors breast cancer survivors.

For more information, contact: Community Relations, 651.565.5596 or jenny.schlagenhaft@ministryhealth.org

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