Healthy Concepts

You and your partner had a fight, or regrettable incident, a couple of weeks ago and one, or both of you, is still upset about the incident; that’s just a guess, I haven’t been listening in. What stands in the way of you and your partner repairing the damage done to your relationship? What has prevented the two of you from being able to process what happened, make amends and get on with your lives? Subjective realities — that is the universal stumbling block for all relationship repairs.

In every fight, or regrettable incident, that occurs in a relationship, there are always two subjective realities of the events; both equally valid and both very, very “true.” There is no “objective reality,” no one “true” and accurate version of what really happened. There is no “God camera.” For as long as you and your partner attempt to convince one another that the way you remember the chain of events is accurate, for just that long, will you be unable to put the event in the past, learn the applicable lessons and move on to your next adventure.

Efforts to convince one another that you are “right” (and your partner is “wrong”) are iron-clad, guaranteed to render the two of you hopelessly stuck and gridlocked. Day after day in my office, couples square off and try to do exactly that: “win” an argument while they are both losing the war. So, why do they keep it up; can’t they see that they are getting nowhere fast? Partners continue to repeat their no-win patterns because they are both, 100 percent, convinced that they are unequivocally right; science, however, is not on their side.

Eyewitness reports are notoriously flawed and inaccurate. According to a 2006 article by a Monitor staff writer, Zak Stambor, “Mistaken or flawed identification has been cited as a factor in nearly 78 percent of the nation’s first 130 convictions, later overturned by DNA testing, according to the New York-based Innocence Project, which works to free the wrongly convicted’.” Which sex can claim “bragging rights” to the most accurate recall abilities? While there are some differences in the abilities of men and women regarding accuracy of recall, neither sex can claim superiority. Research has shown that, whether men or women produce the most accurate recall of events, depends on the subject matter. According to one article, Eyewitness Accounts of Females and Males, “Women were more accurate and more resistant to suggestions (how amenable they are to accepting influence) about female-oriented details, whereas men were more accurate and resistant to suggestions about male-oriented details.” The article didn’t specify what criterion was used to differentiate “female” from “male” related details.

Process the fight or regrettable incident — Don’t get back into it

Here’s a method that may get your “relationship car” back on the road. Agree on a time when you and your partner can devote at least a half hour of dedicated, uninterrupted time to discussing the issue. No phones, no TV, no food, no children, no alcohol (or other recreational drugs); just the two of you, awake and calm.

Now, you’re going to sit down together, take a deep breath, and begin to process the fight, or regrettable incident. Processing means that you are going to talk about the way you handled the fight or regrettable incident without getting back into it. Imagine that you and your partner are at a play and you are sitting in the balcony. On the stage, you’re watching the two of you in the process of conducting the fight, or regrettable incident. You are going to be speaking with one another (from the safety of the balcony), and discussing together, what you see and hear happening on the stage. You’re going to be talking about the fight, or incident, not pick it up where you left off.

  • Step 1, ask your partner to list aloud the emotions that they were feeling at the time; don’t explain them, just list them aloud.
  • Step 2, ask your partner to share their subjective reality of the events. Coach your partner to pretend that they are a news anchor covering the event. Your partner will say, “This is what I thought I heard you say; this is what I believe I saw happen; this is what I meant to say or do; this is what I think I said, etc.”
  • Step 3, when your partner finishes giving voice to his/her version of the “truth,” you will say, “OK, this is what I think I heard you say…” You will ask, “Did I get that right? Did I miss anything?”
  • Step 4, you will validate your partner’s thoughts and emotions; validation does not mean agreement. This is a statement of validation: “Based on what you have told me, about the way you perceived the events, it makes complete sense to me that you would think those thoughts and have those emotions.” It is the polar opposite of saying, “That’s stupid, why would you feel that way?”
  • Step 5, add an empathic statement, such as, “That is terrible that you experienced those emotions, I hate it when we fight.”
  • Step 6, it’s your turn; begin with Step 1.

When you have done all 5 steps, you are going to find some part of the situation that you can take responsibility for and, maybe, there is an amend that you would like to make; your partner may follow your good example.

Other steps you may want to add: What specifically triggered you to respond so strongly? Triggers are sensitive spots that we all have due to experiences in our families of origin, relationships or your current relationship. Some examples of triggers are: not being taken seriously, not being listened to and not being able to stay present when voices are raised.

Juanita* was a 73-year-old woman who was told to try Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing SI) after friends tired of her complaining about her aches and pains. An active, overworking type who often pushed her body well past its comfortable operating limits, Juanita just did not want to accept that age should slow her down, despite carrying the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, scars of a hip replacement, prior surgeries, and wear and tear in her knees caused by years of running. She was in some form of pain nearly 100 percent of the time and was tired of herself complaining too. Once she consulted with a Rolfer, she decided to throw herself in and try the “Ten Series.”

The “Ten Series” is both a process and an experience of Rolfing SI that helps to align and balance the body. A combination of bodywork (manual therapy) and somatic exercises through ten sessions helps to shift movement patterns and posture so that gravity, which has likely been a destructive force for an individual in pain, becomes a nourishing force that allows full grounding of the body while simultaneously encouraging expansion and lift. There is also an “uncluttering of the body suitcase” that naturally happens with this kind of sequential work as restrictions are eased and more efficient movement is restored.

One of Juanita’s first somatic exercises was to practice connecting with “Sky Hook.” She was surprised by what surfaced with this simple exercise. An abuse and trauma survivor, Juanita carried a lot of shame and this presented in her posture. When she practiced connecting with Sky Hook, she felt dignity and self-respect but she also felt uncomfortable and vulnerable standing so straight and tall. She was excited to take this kind of exercise out into her world so she could experiment with how it might shift her thoughts as well as self-esteem.

Juanita very much enjoyed the bodywork portion of her Rolfing SI sessions. After each session, she would feel lighter on her feet and able to better connect with Sky Hook. Outside her sessions, Juanita started to notice that she had greater flexibility and better balance in her power yoga classes. Her breathing had become easier and more natural. The pain in her shoulders, knees and back lessened to a degree where she found she could now be pain-free about 80 percent of the time. Having a break from the chronic pain also dramatically lifted her spirits and lightened her depression.

Juanita credits Rolfing SI in helping her to better understand how her body, mind, emotional self and spiritual self are connected, which was key to moving toward a less pained existence. As her body awareness increased throughout the Ten Series process, she became more conscious of her pain threshold and found herself less likely to over-exercise and push her body too hard. She actually began to start loving and nourishing her body with more gentle movement. The new way she moved about her world reflected how she felt about herself on the inside. She was standing tall, upright and dignified! 

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Much like adults can benefit from participating in hobbies, children can reap rewards from engaging in hobbies. According to the Child Development Institute, hobbies give children a chance to express themselves. The CDI also notes that hobbies can play an important role in children’s self-discovery and boost their self-esteem.

Some children may discover hobbies on their own, requiring little if any assistance on the part of their parents. For example, some kids may display an interest in music that parents, even those with no such musical inclination, can foster by purchasing certain instruments. But some children may need a little more prompting, and parents of such boys and girls can take certain steps to help their youngsters find rewarding hobbies.

Involve kids in your own hobbies. Kids look up to their parents and often want to emulate what their mothers and fathers do. If possible, involve children in your own hobbies. Gardeners can teach their youngsters how to grow and tend to a garden, while painters can host family painting nights where everyone is encouraged to create their own masterpiece. Parents whose hobbies are more adult-oriented, like woodworking, can still involve their children. For example, work with children to design a new item, then show them how the item goes from paper to finished product; just avoid allowing them to use any unsafe tools or machines.

Let kids choose an activity. While some children might take to hobbies their parents favor, others might need to be given some freedom to find their own activities. Afford youngsters this chance, recognizing that it might take some time before kids find an activity that genuinely sparks their passion.

Be a source of encouragement. Some hobbies may prove more difficult than kids first imagined, requiring some perseverance before they can be enjoyed fully. In such instances, observe youngsters while they engage in the activity. If they appear to be enjoying themselves but are periodically frustrated, encourage them to keep trying. If kids appear to be disinterested in overcoming any struggles, then they might benefit by pursuing another hobby.

Don’t hesitate to focus on fun. Hobbies can teach kids valuable lessons and provide a sense of fulfillment, but it’s important that parents not overlook the importance of fun in regard to their children’s hobbies. Hobbies can provide children with the same respite from busy schedules that they do adults, and that break should be as fun as possible.

Hobbies can enrich the lives of children. Finding the right activity may require some patience on the part of parents and youngsters alike.

Source: MetroCreative Connection.

The first step in switching from conventional to natural, organic lawn care is to assess the quality of the existing lawn. If an existing lawn contains few weeds and consists of desirable turfgrass species, natural, organic methods and cultural practices can maintain a good lawn. If a lawn has excessive weeds and/or consists of undesirable turfgrass species, it may be best to initially take a more aggressive approach.

After addressing lawn quality, the next step is assessing soil quality. A number of inexpensive soil test kits are readily available; however, they generally will not provide enough information to help benchmark your current soil requirements and provide you with a roadmap to a successful lawn care program. Without knowing what is right and what is wrong with your existing soil, you may be wasting your time and money. For the purpose of this article, I will recommend a program based on a nine year data base of soil tests taken from the Fox Cities and the surrounding area.

Most lawns found in the Fox Valley are lacking nutrients like nitrogen, calcium and potassium. Our soils are also poor in structure which is a result of high clay, low organic matter and a poor balance between calcium and magnesium. Based on those findings, my general recommendations for starting a DIY organic lawn care program are as follows:

Spring — Feed the plants

Apply all natural organic fertilizer which utilizes water insoluble nitrogen and zero phosphorus. The application rate will depend on the deficiencies found on your soil test and the recommendations on the product. The fertilizer is typically applied in early spring and applied at a rate of 5 to 10 lbs per 1000 square feet depending on the nitrogen content.

Summer — Feed the soil

What creates a sustainable lawn is healthy, biologically rich soil. Creating an environment that the biology thrives in is the key to a healthy lawn. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. Compost tea inoculates the soil with added beneficial organisms and, if done correctly, feeds the organisms and plants, creating a less stressful environment for both; this results in healthy, productive plants and a sustainable soil. If compost tea is not available to you, improve organic matter by top dressing with compost and/or humates. Apply compost tea throughout the growing season at a rate of 2 gallons per 1000 square feet. Top dress with ¼ inch compost at least one time per year until a sufficient organic matter percentage is achieved (5 to 6 percent).

Fall — Amend the soil

Fall is a great time to do a number of soil structure amendments if compacted soils are the problem. Aeration is the quickest way to deal with soil structure issues like compaction. Aeration opens up the soil allowing air and moisture to get deeper into the root zone which helps with loosening up tight soils. While the soil is open due to aeration, it’s also a great time to add humates and calcium (gypsum). If your grass is thin and has a number of bare spots throughout, overseeding with good quality C3 grasses like bluegrass and perennial rye is recommended. If available, add mycorrhizal fungi to the seed mix to enhance plant vigor and soil structure. Apply seed in late fall at a rate of 2 to 4 pounds per 1000 square feet; however, give yourself enough warm days to insure complete seed germination.


Turf is just like any other plant and it requires water to maintain its vigor and appearance, especially Kentucky Bluegrass which is in most of our lawns. I recommend deep, infrequent waterings in the morning only with 3/4 to one inch of water one to two times per week. Overwatering leads to soil compaction and disease. During extreme heat, water more frequently for shorter periods, or simply let your grass go dormant.

A word about weeds

Since the 1940s, traditional lawn care has feasted on a one-size-fits-all approach to weed control that paints every plant with the same broad stroke. The EPA estimates, however, that only 2 percent of the active ingredients in synthetic weed killers, which are called herbicides, ever reach the target plant. The other 98 percent goes into the soil, the ground water and the atmosphere. Organic land care specialists believe that the best tool against weeds is a healthy grass plant which can only happen with healthy soils. That takes time, especially on yards that have an abundance of weeds.

Weeds are telling you something about your yard. Each weed seed is genetically programmed to replace specific deficiencies in the soil. For example, if your lawn is missing nitrogen, nature will often send in clover or one of its cousins in the legume family of plants, which can trap and process nitrogen from the atmosphere. If your lawn has too much nitrogen, nature will likely give you an abundance of dandelions. The best approach to eliminate weeds is to improve your soil through an appropriate balance of biology and nutrients and improving soil texture and structure. This takes time if your soil is out of balance. The organic approach is not a quick fix; it’s a healthy and safe alternative approach to chemicals which benefits our family and our environment. Having said that, here are some tools to get rid of weeds without chemicals:

  • Total eradication using nonselective sprays or solarizing techniques
  • Spot weeding with nonselective sprays, flaming or mechanical tools
  • Soil modification that gets to the root of the problem
  • Overseeding with new grass seed to crowd out weeds
  • Mowing at an appropriate height (3 to 4 inches) and bagging only occasionally (first cut of the year, right after dandelions go to seed, right before winter)

Good luck and happy growing! 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, joint pain affects up to 54 million Americans — 23 percent of all adults. Ouch! Today we will discuss strategies to help overcome these pains and make it a great year!

1. Move

Our mantra in the office is “motion is lotion.” Keeping the joints moving is crucial to better joint health. Whether you are participating in group gym classes or hitting the treadmill in the basement, keeping joints moving and lubricated is a must. Warm water classes or water walking in addition can be so beneficial for those aching joints. I frequently work out with friends and we help each other stay on course. A new addition to my workout routine this year is a Peloton spin bike, which has been a great tool for consistent workouts, loaded with great music and instructors as well as a large variety of music choices to choose from to spin the minutes away and hopefully some fat too.

2. Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a great avenue to consider for both spine and extremity (arm and leg) pains. Chiropractic is now mainstream and has been supported in numerous journals in the literature for the first line of defense when encountering joint pain, and is traditionally covered by most insurance companies in Wisconsin. A common goal for chiropractors is to help restore joint function and decrease pain. Gentle spinal alignments can be most beneficial for both children and adults. My youngest patient in the office is 4 days old and my oldest is 97!

3. Weight Control

Maintaining a healthy weight will cause less stress on your joints. Did you know that every extra pound of weight equates to approximately four pounds of extra stress on the knees? So that 10 or 20 pounds of extra padding adds up quickly with each step! The number one cause of knee pain is obesity.

4. Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in joint and bone health and is easily evaluated by a simple blood test. Unfortunately the sunshine, which is our source of vitamin D, isn’t always present in the Midwest. Add sunscreen and one can quickly see how easy it is to become deficient, even in the height of summer.

Magnesium is a great mineral, which I use as an anti-inflammatory in both my chiropractic and functional medicine practice, that can also help with joint pain. Magnesium is needed in over 300 chemical reactions in the body to function optimally. In addition, it also aids in muscle relaxation and helps to promote sleep, therefore nighttime can be ideal for this supplement. Another favorite and effective spice is turmeric, which gives curry its golden yellow color. It has been used in the Indian culture for centuries. Curcumin is the active anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric.

If you suffer from joint pains, let us help you get back on track and make it a great year!

Stress can affect anyone, even household pets. Although life may seem footloose and fancy free for companion animals, they have their share of stressors as well.

It may be hard to believe that dogs, cats, birds, and other animals can suffer from stress. But certain situations or scenarios may trigger a stressful response in pets, and pet owners should learn to recognize such stressors and do what they can to help pets avoid them.

Research indicates that stress, especially constant sources of stress, can impact pet health and well-being. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that when dogs are under stress, their bodies release an excessive amount of the fight or flight hormone norepinephrine. This can alter gut bacteria and interfere with gastrointestinal tract motility. Resulting diarrhea can compound stressful situations and exacerbate the situation.

The pet advice site Pet-Happy says that, during stressful situations, pets’ blood pressure may climb, breathing may become more rapid, heart rate may increase, and the immune system can become less effective - instances that would also occur in humans. Various studies show that stress can be a contributing factor to disease.

Animals experience stress for different reasons and exhibit stress in ways that set them apart from one another and their human companions. The following is a breakdown of what may contribute to stress in birds, cats and dogs.


According to James Morrisey, a veterinarian at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, birds are very good at picking up stress in people, which may contribute to their own stress. It can be challenging to determine what is causing stress in birds. However, the appearance of stress bars on feathers, the sudden onset of aggression, fearful behavior, changes in appetite, and destructive behavior can indicate that stress is present.


Cats can become stressed over situations their owners may not consider major. Loud music and noises, changes in food or litter brands, having new carpet or furniture installed, or a number of visitors in the home may be stressors, says Pam Johnson-Bennet, author and cat behavior expert. Some of the easiest stress symptoms to spot include excessive self-grooming, urine spraying, aggression, extreme vocalization, and eliminating outside of the litter box.


The British Small Animal Veterinary Association’s “Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioural Medicine” says that some of the most common dog stress triggers are novelty, housing changes, loud noises, changes in household members, and changes in schedule. Dogs may exhibit stress through appetite changes, isolation, digestive issues, lethargy, and increased sleeping.

Once stress is identified apart from any other health issues, pet owners can take steps to reduce it. Providing a security spot to which the pet can retreat, regular exercise, mental stimulation, and gradual changes to routine, diet or other things a pet has relied on can help. 

Testosterone levels for men declines as they age — it is inevitable. It begins around the age of 40 and levels continue to drop by 1-2 percent yearly after age 40. Most men do not begin to notice until their 50s when the negative symptoms of low testosterone, or low T, become too uncomfortable to ignore.

Low testosterone is also referred to as hypogonadism, testosterone deficiency syndrome, or andropause: the male menopause. Symptoms of andropause are often missed due to the gradual onset. Development of symptoms can progress over 10-15 years! Symptoms can include: fatigue, reduced energy, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, moodiness/irritability, depression, declining libido, weaker erections, impaired sexual function, decreased muscle mass/strength, which in turn can lead to increased body fat, osteoporosis, increase in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, impaired fasting glucose levels, and increased cardiovascular risks. The occurrence of low T has been found to be concurrent in a number of chronic health conditions:

  • Obesity and/or larger waist circumferences – 52 percent
  • Diabetes – 50 percent
  • Hypertension – 42 percent
  • Hyperlipidemia (elevated cholesterol/lipids) – 40 percent
  • Erectile dysfunction – 19 percent

Testosterone deficiency is projected to be associated with the development of approximately 1.3 million new cases of cardiovascular disease and 1.1 million new cases of diabetes. Correcting low T may help reverse insulin resistance and help keep arteries more flexible, allowing for essential dilation/constriction with blood flow. Keeping this in mind, it would indicate that testosterone replacement therapy is important for men.

Yet, there still remains significant controversy regarding its use, since there have been studies indicating increased risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular events with testosterone use. This in turn prompted the FDA (2015) to issue warnings to physicians and patients. However, the (2016) Registry of Hypogonadism in Men (RHYME) study asserts testosterone use does not cause an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events. Additionally, the following medical groups are in agreement: The European Association of Urology, International Society for Sexual Medicine, European Menopause & Andropause Society, Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and American College of Endocrinology, and furthermore Debruyne et al. research revealed that, “testosterone treatment is not associated with increased risk of prostate cancer…” British Journal of Urology, International (2017).

It is evident that testosterone is important for men. So what can be done to restore optimal testosterone levels? There is plenty to be done and it is not just about a prescription either! It starts with you taking charge of your future by increasing your knowledge, making changes toward a healthier lifestyle and having balanced hormones to allow for a happier, healthier life.

How to start

  • Begin to eliminate bad habits related to sleep, diet and exercise
  • Get your cholesterol checked
  • Control your blood pressure/cholesterol if they are high
  • Don’t smoke
  • Increase physical activity to at least 30 minutes daily, most days of the week
  • Eat a healthy diet with more fruits/vegetables and less saturated/trans fats
  • Find a provider who specializes in male hormones — get your hormones tested!
  • Consider starting a wellness program to include:
    • Lifestyle/nutritional guidance
    • Supplement recommendations
    • Sexual health consultation
    • Thyroid care
    • Hormonal replacement (if needed)
  • Start on high-quality, pharmaceutical grade supplements to start feeling better faster
  • Drug store/big retail chain brands do not guarantee quality ingredients. These often contain fillers or binders that may cause additional health issues

Testosterone replacement therapy, when done correctly with careful monitoring and follow-up labs, can make a world of difference. If you or someone you know is experiencing signs/symptoms of low testosterone, be proactive, get tested and start making changes today.

Are you willing to gamble with your skin health? If you are currently skipping the monthly self-skin check and avoiding your yearly skin cancer screening then you are officially a gambler.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with 1 in 5 Americans developing it in their lifetime. Regular self-skin checks and a yearly skin cancer screening by a board-certified dermatologist are crucial to find the cancer early. According to American Cancer Society research, if melanoma is caught in stage one, the 5-year survival rate is 97 percent. Late detection survival rates can be as low as 15 percent.

How to perform a self-skin check

If you haven’t been performing a monthly self-skin check it’s time to get started. Many people say “skin cancer would never happen to me,” but it’s important to remember that skin cancer does not discriminate by age, gender or ethnicity.

As dermatologists, when we educate our patients on examining their own skin, we commonly refer them to the “ABCDEs.” While examining your skin, look for any spots that show Asymmetry, have an irregular Border, vary in Color and have a Diameter that is wider than a pencil eraser. Skin cancer can occur in a variety of colors including brown, black, dull red or blue and may be flat or raised. It is also important to monitor skin lesions over time to determine if they have Evolved or changed. You know your skin better than anyone else so you will be the first to notice if a spot is new or has changed.

What to expect during a skin cancer screening

Not knowing what occurs in a skin screening can be a bit unnerving to a first timer, so let me break it down for you.

A typical skin cancer screening is a simple, 10-minute appointment where a board-certified dermatologist examines your body looking for any areas of concern. The screening starts out with you changing into the hospital-style gown we all know and love. Before the skin exam, your dermatologist will ask if you have any areas of concern. Now is not the time to be shy, point out any areas that you may have noticed changes in. While examining your skin, your dermatologist may use a special magnifying glass with a light — called a dermatoscope — to examine certain suspicious spots more closely. If a suspicious lesion is identified, you may need a biopsy.

A biopsy is a quick, simple procedure that helps diagnose the condition. A local anesthetic is applied and a small tissue sample is taken from the suspicious area. The sample is then sent to a pathology lab where results are determined. If the biopsy reveals skin cancer, the remainder of the growth will be removed at a later date.

Be proactive

Remember, early detection saves lives and a simple monthly self-skin check and yearly in-office skin screening with a dermatologist can truly mean the difference between life and death. 

February is an interesting time of the year. It’s not shiny and new like January, but not quite spring’s beginning in March. I’ll lovably call it a middle child (because that’s where I happen to fall in birth order myself).

Don’t let this seemingly lackadaisical month fool you. It packs a punch. And it does so in the most full circle way. There’s a simple association to hearts because of their abundance in February, both in the literal, anatomical sense and also in its more whimsical, intuitive definition. Valentine’s Day falls in the middle and the whole 28 day span is dedicated to National Heart Month and spreading awareness about cardiovascular health. The passion that Dr. Yasser Salem and his team at Heart Failure Survival Center of America hold for both the health and quality of life of their patients is admirable, and we’re glad to tell their story.

This February is also special for us at Nature’s Pathways Magazine. For 12 years, we’ve included a convenient section called the Community Partners Directory where local experts can be found easily in a manner that speaks to your wants and needs. Because of its success, we’ve included our first annual separate piece with our print publication to help make connecting with community organizations easier than ever in 2018. To check it out and grab yours, find a newsstand here:

Enjoy exploring all our community has to offer and be sure to tell your favorite local businesses that you saw them in the CPD. Remember to visit the CPD section here on the website where you can link directly to their websites and social media accounts.

Connecting is what it’s all about!


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The concept of “quality of life” is often different for everyone, but it’s clear in its purpose in providing a positive perspective — it brings a hope that has the power to change someone’s everyday living. In short, it translates to a genuine delight in being alive and being able to enjoy both the big and little things life has to offer.

When one loses that sense of belief due to health issues, hope can be lost and it may seem unlikely that those good days will ever return. Heart Failure Survival Center of America’s most adamant mission is to see patients not only survive, but thrive. And they do so in a multitude of ways through patient-centered, well-rounded care.

“Our integrated system provides comprehensive care to cardiac, pulmonary hypertension and heart failure patients throughout the continuum of their disease stages,” Dr. Salem says. “No matter what the condition is, our main goal is to improve the patient’s survivability, independence and quality of life.”

Dr. Yasser Salem is a board-certified physician in cardiovascular disease, advanced heart failure, cardiac transplant, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, CT angiography, vascular medicine and internal medicine. He and his team at Heart Failure Survival Center of America (HFSCA) provide an array of treatments and tests to ensure all aspects of care are covered.

Dedicated to answering your health questions

Dr. Salem explains that cardiovascular health is complex, and he looks at the whole body to investigate any potential underlying causes to discover why the heart may be failing.

“We try to connect the dots to get to the root of the problem,” Dr. Salem says. “We take care of the person as a whole. We dig through the details of any other things that might have contributed to risk or future risk, down to the genes. We like to solve mysteries… and that gives (patients) hope and independence again.”

Understandably, it can be a tough journey of care when it comes to heart failure, but the team at HFSCA provides a much needed boost of morale.

“Sometimes we see people come in with a negative outlook on life,” Kaitlin Parsons, HFSCA Exercise Physiologist, says. “They’re not enjoying life and they feel they have a death sentence with heart failure. But they come in, they start to feel better, open up and they come out of their shell — taking this person who isn’t themself and changing their attitude is one of my favorite parts.”

However, the team urges people to come in long before they may be feeling sick or seeing symptoms. Their ideal approach to health care is likened to the age-old car analogy because it resonates with so many.

“Our preventive therapy is like buying a car,” Dr. Salem explains. “Most of the disease we see takes a long time to show symptoms, it’s slow-progressing and can be silent so you need to maintain your health like you would a new vehicle. Every 1,000 miles you do this and that to make sure your car works. It’s the same with your body.”

That also means Dr. Salem and the HFSCA team are continuously learning and keeping up to date on technology, and improvements and advancements in their field.

“Education is very important to us to make sure we’re on the same page with statistics and studies,” Tracy Rymer, sonographer at HFSCA, says. “Dr. Salem is always willing to meet with pharmaceutical reps because they offer so much information. We love hearing about the latest studies and getting involved.”

“Once people find us, without exception, they always walk out feeling so grateful,” Kaylah Portmann, HFSCA Administrative Assistant, says. “And when they come in again, they’re like family.”

Comprehensive care under one roof — at two convenient locations

As an entirely outpatient cardiac health center, HFSCA is one of the first of its kind in northeast Wisconsin. The Appleton space was built in a way that encompasses all of the services that a patient might need — internal medicine, cardiovascular medicine, heart failure and cardiac transplant.

Dr. Salem and his team also bring this level of expertise to their second location in Marinette County. Dr. Salem and his team travel to Crivitz twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) to provide acute care to a population that previously didn’t have easy access nearby, straying from the typical hospital setting and instead providing a family-oriented practice they can feel welcome in.

“The complex patients’ access to care was the hospital that’s almost 35 minutes away,” Dr. Salem explains. “So we’re able to offer acute care for patients who need it.”

He and the HFSCA team do so at Quantum Healthcare, a medical practice with family medical physician, Dr. Peter Curio, which encompasses family medicine, primary and urgent care offering diabetes treatment, hypertension treatment, immunizations, physical exams for all ages and more, along with Dr. Salem’s cardiology specialty.

“(HFSCA) is convenient too. We do everything here and do everything in the most timely manner we can in the urgency that’s needed underneath this roof,” Heidi Miller, RN, BSN at HFSCA says.

“It’s all done here,” Tracy says. “And if you do have to go to another facility we will find the closest one for you that’s in your network.”

“It’s bringing heart care to the rural community,” Sarah Ehlert, HFSCA Clinic Manager, adds. “Dr. Salem has been a huge asset to the area; there is no other cardiac care that covers all of those smaller communities.” 

“Dr. Salem is a world class cardiologist. He has a unique patient-oriented approach… I am 47 years old and I never had a more detailed physical examination. Dr. Salem brought my life back by eliminating symptoms… with a correct diagnosis and treatment. God bless Dr. Salem and (his) wonderful team! —A K.

At Heart Failure Survival Center of America, our mission is to improve patients' quality of life; helping patients not only survive, but thrive. To reduce heart failure hospitalization by providing world-class cardiovascular, advanced heart failure and internal medicine care in a one-site location close to home.

Dr. Salem and the team at HFSCA provide an array of services to help in the management of cardiovascular diseases and disorders, and perform several procedures in two convenient locations (Appleton and Crivitz!). This includes:


  • EKG
  • Cardioversion
  • Echocardiogram
  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI)
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram
  • Blood testing
  • Tilt table testing
  • Nuclear stress testing
  • Exercise stress testing
  • Stress echocardiogram
  • Dobutamine stress echo
  • Cardio-pulmonary stress testing
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • External counterpulsation (ECP) therapy
  • Observation care
  • Cardiovascular prevention care
  • Chronic care management
  • Consultations and follow up
  • Second opinions

National Heart Month

You may be seeing an influx of familiar red and pink shapes this month because of Valentine’s Day, but it’s not the only way hearts take the stage. February is National Heart Month and HFSCA participates in the health initiative to support and bring awareness to heart failure support and caregivers.

Helping patients not only survive, but thrive

Heart Failure Surivial Center of America


2700 East Enterprise Avenue, Suite B, Appleton



(Quantum Healthcare)

515 North US Highway 141, Crivitz


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