Extinguish the burn of acid reflux

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By David Kloss, M.D., FACS


You know that painful little burn you get in your chest after you eat? That’s acid reflux. It’s a pretty common occurrence in this country, and sometimes, it can interfere with everyday life.

Tri-County Health Care has advanced by leaps and bounds in our available technology for treating and managing reflux. Our newest gadget, software for esophageal manometry testing, examines how well your esophagus, or food pipe, muscles work.

manometry testing

Dr. Kloss volunteered to let operating room nurses practice the new manometry testing on him.

When we installed this new technology on May 23, I enthusiastically volunteered to let the operating room nurses practice on me to get them prepped and educated for our first patient.

To conduct this test, we gently insert a thin electronic catheter covered in tiny sensors down your throat to measure the pressure in your esophagus. Nurses give you liquid to swallow while the machine records the pressure, represented by colors on our chart.

Purple shows low pressure the moment you swallow. After that, the chart should display red for high pressure as your esophagus contracts to push the liquid into your stomach.

Why is this important? It shows us if the sphincters in your esophagus are working properly. Sphincters are handy muscles at the top and bottom of your esophagus that keep out fluid and saliva. We pay the most attention to the lower sphincter because when that isn’t working properly, it allows stomach acid to splash into your esophagus and causes reflux.

Once we determine you have bad reflux, you could be a candidate for our LINX procedure. LINX involves putting a little ring of magnetic beads around your esophagus by the lower sphincter to tighten it just enough so that stomach acid can’t get in. The magnets are weak enough so that when you swallow, your esophageal muscles can still push food through.

test results

Manometry testing records esophagus pressure using a color chart. Purple is low, and red is high. Operating room nurses check the results of Dr. Kloss’ test.

Manometry testing plays a crucial role in determining if you are even eligible for LINX because esophagus function is the deciding factor. If your esophageal muscles are weak or don’t work properly and you have the LINX procedure, then your muscles won’t be strong enough to open up those magnets and push food through. Then you’ll be really unhappy.

This technology benefits thousands of people in the area because you don’t have to go to the Mayo, Brainerd, Fargo or elsewhere. In fact, TCHC is one of only nine hospitals in the entire state that offers this surgery. We can do it all here and quickly get you on the road to recovery and relief.

To schedule an appointment for a consultation about the LINX procedure, call 218-631-7581. For more information, click here.


About the Author: Dr. Kloss is a board-certified general surgeon at Tri-County Health Care. In his free time, Dr. Kloss is an avid marathon runner. His race résumé includes the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., as well as marathons in Dublin, Ireland; Paris, France; and Pittsburgh. He also ran the Twin Cities Marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the New York City marathon for the American Cancer Society. Dr. Kloss also earned Ironman status, having completed the Madison, Wisconsin, Ironman race in 2014. All this running helps Dr. Kloss control his weight so he can eat cookies WHENEVER he wants.

TriWadena: No Spandex Necessary!

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By: David Kloss, MD, FACS

A triathlon is a fun way to stay active and meet people.  It can be a great excuse to travel places you might never go to otherwise, and it gives you an excuse to eat a little bit healthier, to get more sleep at night (a definite health bonus!) and to stay active!

Signing up for any race, whether it is a local charity fundraiser, a three-mile run on the far side of Minnesota, or perhaps Grandma’s marathon in Duluth, all are a great motivator. The very act of plunking down 15 dollars (or more?) is a great motivator to train for your event; it motivates you to eat a little bit healthier, to go to bed a little bit earlier and to actually GO TO THE GYM, rather than just talk about going to the gym!

This is the 2nd year for “TRIWADENA, no spandex necessary”, the little local beginner’s triathlon.  This could be just the ticket for you to get motivated! It is a FUN way to participate in a sport you may never have heard of before!  As our advertisement says: “no spandex necessary”. You do not need expensive exercise clothes, no funny looking skin tight bike shorts, and certainly no $3000 bicycles!  Our race is geared for the person who can barely swim, but who IS interested in becoming a BETTER swimmer.

Last year we organized our race at the Maslowski Wellness Center. It was a spectacular day for our 22 competitors. All of them were first time triathletes!  The youngest was 17 and the oldest was 72. We had 25 volunteers who also had fun cheering on the racers and also keeping them safe while riding and running the course around Wadena.  You had to swim (or walk) eight lengths of the pool, bike 12 miles around Wadena, and run 2 miles around St. John’s Lutheran church.  Don’t think you can do it? Train a little bit and TRY IT!!!  Register for the race at the Maslowski Wellness Center and you can come to our three training seminars!

Jeremy Moonen was our first male finisher and Dr. Laura DuChene was our first female finisher.  But “best time” and

Dr. DuChene

winning were not primary; finishing, having fun, and just the act of training for the race…….those were REAL goals.  Each participant had to spend some extra time at the gym practicing each of the three events: swim, bike, and run.  And actually two other areas of the triathlon race get ignored by beginners: the TRANSITION.

The TRANSITION is the process of getting out of the swimming pool and then hopping on the bike while you are still a little bit winded.  This is Transition one.

TRANSITION two is harder: getting off the bike and running. Your legs are tired and they rebel! This takes training and practice to condition your muscles to change gears and to run!  Don’t make a rookie mistake! Practice this transition!

The other part of triathlon and indeed any event, is the discipline to TURN OFF THE TV and actually go to the gym regularly.

The training, the extra time spent at the gym instead of on the couch, the practice in the swimming pool, the time spent with your friends running around the track is REALLY what our race is about.  Our race doesn’t have a large cash prize, there is no huge trophy!  Our race is about having fun and staying motivated to stick with your New Year’s Eve resolutions!

So come on! Try something new! Call the MAS and register! We’ll help get you ready for this mini-triathlon!  Your family will be impressed! They’ll come cheer you on! And you do get a REALLY cool athletic shirt!!!  If you can’t swim or you have bad knees and can’t run, you can still participate: we have a RELAY TEAM division!!! Get three friends to participate with you!

And to help motivate the adults even more, we’ve added a kid’s race (10-14 years old) on Friday evening at 6PM. The kids can swim one length of the pool (with life jacket if needed), ride their bike around the MAS, and run around the high school! Come cheer on the future Olympians!!!

See you at 0800 on the starting line, Saturday, May 20!

To learn more about TriWadena click here: www.TriWadena.org.

About the Author: David Kloss, MD, FACS, has worked at TCHC for five years. He completed the Iron Man Madison race in 2014 in 14 hours 27 minutes. He’s completed many full marathons across the country, in Paris, France and Dublin, Ireland. He loves to be active and stay in shape for ski season and canoe season in the Boundary Waters! He has two grandchildren who add even more motivation to stay in shape!

Is Walking Good for You?

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Is walking good for you? This question seems so simple, yet you may be wondering why I am asking a question that appears to have an obvious answer.

Obesity is soaring in this country and around the world. Generally speaking, we are eating unhealthy food and we are exercising less.  In this country the Internet is king! Television comes in a close second and for kids, the Sony Play station or XBOX occupies the central part of their attention.  But as electronic entertainment occupies more and more of our free time and our jobs become less physical, obesity and all the resulting devastating health issues are destroying our bodies.

You may be asking by now – who cares if people are fat and isn’t it okay to be overweight? No matter how much we pretend obesity is “okay” in today’s world, the reality is that the health of our bodies is negatively impacted by the extra weight. Obesity increases the likelihood we will need major joint replacement surgery, it increases the risks of minor surgery and it increases their chances of having colon cancer and/or breast cancer – not to mention issues with high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and vascular disease, heart disease, stroke, depression and immobility.

Are you rolling your eyes yet or saying to yourself, “obesity can’t be ALL that bad”. If so, you would be seriously wrong.  Hundreds of research papers studying thousands upon thousands of people have proven with GREAT statistical power that obesity negatively impacts ALL of these health factors.

Well, so what? Obesity may be a bad thing, but WHAT can we do about it? Our jobs are mostly desk jobs. Kids love to play video games. Hardly any of us work on a farm anymore doing the hard physical labor our grandparents did each day.  Kids don’t run around at gym class any more. What can be done to reduce obesity in this country and improve each of our health?

Senior Chinese Couple Walking In Park

In 2013, the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine published a study that included 355 people who walked about 10,000 steps a day. These researchers clearly documented a five point drop in the systolic blood pressure in the hypertensive patients.

How about in young people? Can something as BORING as walking help them? A study of 100 healthy young volunteers was published in the journal of Applied Physiology and Nutritional Metabolism. They monitored their activity with pedometers. But, instead of encouraging them to walk more, they RESTRICTED their walking to less than 5,000 steps per day and measured their body’s response to this inactivity. How did their body react? They were able to prove a worsening tendency towards diabetes, a higher percentage of fat in the body and worsening blood cholesterol levels.

Do you want more proof that walking is good for you? In 2012, the American College of Sports Medicine published a paper documenting improved BMI, adiposity index AND lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes with 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.  They also showed it does NOT have to be 30 minutes of heart pounding, sweat-rolling-of- your-face, short-of-breath-so-bad-you-can’t-talk exercise!  No, just doing the 30 minutes a day of walking will give you these health benefits. No medication necessary! No side effects! No insurance co-pay for your anti-hypertensive medication! You just have to walk!

But Dr. Kloss, you ask, do I really have to walk five miles or 10,000 steps a day? Well, if you want to get the maximum benefit, yes. However, it has also been studied that ANYTHING you do to increase your physical activity during the day will help your health.  For instance, if you buy a pedometer and record your steps each day and find you are walking about 5000 steps each day with NORMAL activity, that’s a great base line! Now, take that information and walk a little more each day.

iStock_000035490740_LargeFor example, instead of parking right up front in a parking lot, park in the back corner and walk to the entrance of the store. You will increase you daily step count up to 6,000 steps each day. Gradually, you will increase your step count and your activity. Everything you do to increase your activity and step count will help improve your weight, your blood pressure and your cardiovascular health.  So don’t be put off by the idea of 10,000 steps – any progress is good progress!

Now many articles and research papers have studied walking and health.  How many steps are necessary to be healthy? (Answer: More than 7,500 steps.) Do post-menopausal woman benefit from walking? (Answer: Yes, menopausal woman DO benefit from walking at least 8000 steps a day.)  Are there other health benefits from walking other than just reducing obesity?  (Answer: YES, walking helps reduce your blood pressure, elevate your mood and reduce your risk of diabetes and of needing insulin injections).


Suggestions I have to help you keep your fitness goals:

  • Keep a journal of your walking.
  • Write down your goals.
  • Buy a pedometer and use it to help document your success.
  • When the weather is bad (bad weather here in Wadena?) don’t forget the indoor track at the WDC high school and the Maslowski Wellness Center.

REMEMBER, you have to walk for 30 minutes AND you have to stick with it! You can’t quit after just four weeks!  Like anything in our lives worth achieving, it is worth working for! So on some days you won’t feel like walking. You won’t feel like getting off the sofa … BUT JUST DO IT! (Thanks to NIKE for their slogan). You will reap the health benefits if you stick with it!

Just walk! It’s cheap. It’s easy. And it works!!!


David Kloss-3About the Author:

Dr. Kloss is a board certified general surgeon at Tri-County Health Care. In his free time, Dr. Kloss is an avid marathon runner. His race resume includes the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C., as well as, marathons in Dublin, Ireland; Paris, France; and Pittsburgh Marathon. He has also ran the Twin Cities Marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the best marathon of all – the New York City marathon for the American Cancer Society. Dr. Kloss has also earned Ironman status having completed the Madison, Wisconsin Ironman race in 2014. All this running helps Dr. Kloss control his weight so he can eat cookies WHENEVER he wants.

His advice to others who want to be healthy:
  • Slow and steady improvement will get you were you want to go.
  • Watch what you eat.
  • Stay active
  • Get to bed earlier
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol. 
Dr. Kloss started out as a self-proclaimed “skinny computer nerd” who stands firmly by his statement, “IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT!”.