Northern Wisconsin

Northern Wisconsin

Weight-loss program achieves gold standard for excellence

Ministry Weight Management, an HMR weight-loss program located at Ministry Rehabilitation Services in Rhinelander, was recently awarded the 2009 HMR Gold Standard Certificate of Achievement by Health Management Resources (HMR), a national health care company.

HMR awards the gold certifications to top programs in the nation that have demonstrated excellence in performance and patient care in categories such as greatest weight-loss rates, outstanding group attendance and best weight maintenance data.

Ministry Weight Management, a department of Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital, offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss that includes in-depth lifestyle education, personal coaching and the option of medically supervised treatment. With both in-clinic and at-home weight-loss program options, the clinic has served hundreds of people.

For more information about the Ministry Weight Management program, contact Melissa Wild, health educator, at 715.361.2318 or Pam Morton, program coordinator, at 715.361.2316.

Cari Trapp, of Lac du Flambeau, lost 219 pounds with Ministry’s Weight Management Program.

Orientations to Ministry Weight Management, and HMR Program

Ministry Rehabilitation Services
2003 Winnebago Street
Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Mondays at Noon
Thursdays at 5 p.m. 

Ministry Sacred Heart Hospital
401 West Mohawk Drive
Tomahawk, Wisconsin
Second Tuesdays of the month at Noon

For more information or to register for upcoming orientations in Rhinelander and Tomahawk call 715.361.2316 or visit

Primary care is a powerful ally for a lifetime of good health

Having a primary care provider you trust allows you to develop a long-term, powerful, healing relationship. By seeing the same person over the course of your life, you establish a relationship that allows your primary care provider to:

  • Understand your values and views on care.
  • Make referrals to a specialist or surgeon that complements your values and personality.
  • Help you minimize health care costs.
  • Make health recommendations that are best for your circumstances.
  • Act as a medical manager for your health when serious problems arise.

Primary care providers can help you keep your quality of care high and your health care costs low as they work with you to develop lifestyle changes that prevent disease, maintain health or minimize the symptoms of a chronic illnesses.

Your primary care provider is your first point of contact in your personal medical system.

Primary care providers may be Doctors of Medicine (MD); Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO); Physician Assistant (PA), or Nurse Practitioners (NP).

PAs can diagnose and treat a wide variety of illnesses and conditions, order tests, conduct physical exams, write prescriptions and assist with surgery.

NPs are registered nurses with advanced medical training who can provide services similar to those offered by a physician.

They focus on disease prevention and patient education for healthier lifestyles and informed health care decisions.

Which primary care provider is right for you?

Family medicine providers can take care of the whole family regardless of age. Knowing patients and their health histories over long periods of time gives these providers added insight into a person’s health.

Internal medicine providers, sometimes called internists, specialize in adult care. They provide preventative care and diagnose and treat adult disorders, from common illnesses and chronic diseases to rare and difficult conditions. Internists can treat people who are dealing with many health conditions at once.

Pediatric providers specialize in diagnosing and treating everything from common illnesses to acute, chronic and complex conditions in children. They are dedicated to the physical, mental and emotional health of infants, young children and adolescents. Pediatric providers can also provide parents with support and advice for raising healthy children.

Hospitalists may have special training as internal medicine physicians, family medicine physicians or nurse practitioners. They specialize in caring for hospitalized patients. If a patient needs to be hospitalized, his or her primary care physician may refer the patient to a hospitalist. During the hospital stay, the hospitalist will communicate with the primary care provider to continue the best possible care.

When your health condition requires surgery or specialized care, your primary care provider will refer you to the appropriate specialist. After you are seen by a specialist, you will still see your primary care provider as well, for general health care.

Control blood pressure and lower risk for stroke

Margaret Alvarez, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC

Stroke, or brain attack, is the third leading cause of death among Americans. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the number one risk factor for stroke.

Detected early, high blood pressure, which affects nearly 50 million Americans, can be controlled with medications and lifestyle changes. The Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly (SHEP) study found that treatment of moderately high blood pressure resulted in 37 percent fewer strokes among older patients.

Another study concluded that reducing blood pressure by just five to six points reduced stroke risk by 42 percent.

Blood pressure measures the force pushing against the sides of the blood vessels. When it remains consistently high, it weakens blood vessels and makes them susceptible to the buildup of plaque deposits, known as atherosclerosis. These deposits impede blood flow, putting stress on the heart muscle as well as the blood vessels, especially those in the kidneys, the heart and the brain.

“Blood pressure tends to rise with age, excess weight, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive use of alcohol and a high-sodium, high-fat diet,” said Margaret Alvarez, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC, Ministry Medical Group in Woodruff. “Even with medication, patients may have trouble controlling blood pressure if they continue unhealthy habits.

“Sodium is a major factor, especially for people who retain fluids,” added Alvarez. “Lowering sodium includes watching the sodium content of restaurant and prepared foods, which are often high.”

Normal blood pressure is 120 / 80. People in good health, whose blood pressure is between 130 - 139 / 85 - 89, should have their blood pressure monitored frequently since it can be associated with significant risk of developing hypertension over time.

Patients with diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease should have a goal of less than 130 / 80. A diagnosis of high blood pressure should be taken as an important warning; stroke is a life-threatening emergency.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call:
715.478.3318 in Crandon
715.477.3000 in Eagle River
715.674.5233 in Laona
715.361.4700 in Rhinelander
715.453.7200 in Tomahawk
715.356.8920 in Woodruff

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