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Community members participate in Go Red BetterU Heart Health Challenge

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This spring, 11 Brainerd lakes area community members committed to a healthier lifestyle by participating in the American Heart Association’s BetterU Heart Health Challenge, an eight-week program sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Heart and Vascular Center at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

Participants Lilja Behr of Brainerd, Sharon Carlson of Brainerd, Linda Folk of Brainerd, Mary Marana of Baxter, Melinda Rasinski of Fort Ripley, Greta Rosko of Brainerd, Deanna Rubbelke of Baxter, Kelli Sanguma of Baxter, Rick Sicora of Isle, Nicole Smith of Palisade, and Linda Walters of Brainerd experienced an eight-week heart health makeover with staff from Brainerd Lakes Heart & Vascular Center and Essentia Health - St. Joseph’s Medical Center. Each participant was involved in an initial wellness screening, followed by exercise, diabetes, and nutrition sessions. A follow-up wellness screening is offered six weeks after the challenge.

Too few people realize heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, more than all forms of cancer and the next five leading causes of death combined. But, the good news is heart disease can largely be prevented. “We want people to become more aware of the risks of heart disease and how they can be prevented or even reversed,” said Rebecca Wirtz, Brainerd Lakes Heart & Vascular Center nurse practitioner, in a statement.

Essentia Health also offers an online tool that gives people valuable information about their heart’s biological age — along with a look at their personal risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Just go to The free survey takes a few minutes and walks participants through simple questions about their age, weight, exercise habits and stress levels. It also asks about blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. Based on the answers, the tool calculates the heart’s biological age and risks for heart and vascular disease. Those concerned about their risk for heart disease are advised to see their doctor.

To hear from BetterU participants, go to Facebook BetterUBrainerdLakes.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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