Common Conditions

Whether you’re feeling under the weather, suffering from pain or in need of treatment for a chronic condition, Altru’s primary care providers are your partners in health. Our family medicine, internal medicine and pediatric providers should be your first call when you’re not in tip-top shape. They can start a treatment plan for these common conditions, among many others, and help guide you to specialists if needed. 

Note: This is not a complete list.

Please call us at 701.795.2000 for additional services. 

Acute Illness

Abdominal pain: Abdominal pain is quite common, yet, the symptoms and underlying conditions vary greatly. When understanding your pain, here are some ways to discern it and explain it to your provider:

  • Generalized pain – felt in more than half of your belly. This is typical for stomach virus, indigestion or gas. Severe pain could mean a blockage of the intestines.
  • Localized pain – found in only one area of the belly. This is more likely to be a sign of a problem in an organ, sick as the appendix, gallbladder or stomach.
  • Cramps – Most of the time, this is not serious pain. It’s likely due to gas and bloating and could result in diarrhea. It can be worrisome if it occurs frequently or with a fever.
  • Intermittent pain – comes in waves, starting and ending suddenly and is often sever. Kidney stones and gallstones are common causes.

Bladder infection: A bladder infection, or cystitis, is caused by germs that enter the urethra and move to the bladder. Symptoms include:

  • Cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odor
  • Low fever
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen or back
  • Strong need to urinate often, even after the bladder has been emptied 

Back pain: If you are experiencing back pain, you may also have stiffness and decreased movement of the lower back, as well as difficulty standing straight. 

Common cold: A common cold often causes a runny nose, nasal congestion and sneezing. You may also have a sore throat, cough, headache or other symptoms. 

Ear infection: Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. The most common type of ear infection is caused by swelling and infection of the middle ear. Symptoms in older children and adults include:

Ear pain or earache Vomiting
Fullness in the ear Diarrhea
Feeling of general illness Hearing loss in the affected ear

Flu: The flu is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs. It is caused by an influenza virus and spreads easily. Flu symptoms will often start quickly, usually within 2-3 days of contracting the virus. The first symptom is a fever, and other symptoms include:

Fever Flushed face
Body aches Headache
Chills Lack of energy
Dizziness             Nausea and vomiting

 Colds and the flu share similar symptoms, but there are also differences:

  • Flu symptoms are usually more severe than the cold
  • Fever is common with the flu but rare with colds
  • Headache and extreme exhaustion are more common in flu than colds
  • Sore throat is more common with colds than flu 

Heartburn (Acid reflux): Heartburn happens when stomach acid flows backwards from your stomach into your esophagus. This can cause a painful burning feeling just below the breastbone or at the back of your throat. Chest pain, especially when you lie down or exercise after meals, can be accompanied by an acidic or sour taste at the back of your throat or regurgitation. If you have heartburn very often, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Joint pain: Over time, joints can become damaged by arthritis and other diseases, sports injuries or simply years of use. This can cause pain, stiffness and swelling.

Migraine: A migraine headache is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light and sound. Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating, cold sweats, dizziness, weakness, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Mono: Mononucleosis, or mono, is a viral infection that causes fever, sore throat and swollen lymph glands. Mono may begin slowly with fatigue, headache and sore throat. Other common symptoms of mono include:

Fever Muscle aches or stiffness
General discomfort or ill feeling Rash                                          
Loss of appetite Swollen Lymph nodes

Pink eye: Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, occurs when the clear layer of tissue lining the eyelids and cover the white of the eye becomes swollen or inflamed. This swelling can be due to an infection, an irritant, dry eyes or an allergy. Symptoms include:

Blurred vision Increased tearing
Eye pain Sensitivity to light
Gritty feeling in the eyes           Crusts that form on the eyelid overnight
Itchy eyes             Redness in the eyes

Skin conditions and rashes: Rashes often involve changes in the color, feeling or texture of your skin. There are many types of rashes, such as eczema, psoriasis, granuloma annulare, lichen planus and pityriasis rosea. Rashes are often red, dry and itchy. 

Sinus infection: A sinus infection, or sinusitis, occurs when the tissue lining the sinuses become swollen or inflamed. The symptoms often follow a cold that does not get better or that gets worse after 5 to 7 days. Symptoms include:

Bad breath or loss of smell Headache
Cough, often worse at night Pressure-like pain, pain behind the
eyes, toothache, or tenderness of the face
Fatigue, general feeling of being ill Nasal stuffiness and discharge
Fever Sore throat and postnasal drip

Sprains and fractures: Sprains are caused when a joint is forced to move into an unnatural position and causes the ligaments around the joint to stretch too far or tear. Symptoms of a sprain include pain and swelling around the joint, stiffness and discoloration or bruising of the skin.  

When too much physical force is put on a bone, it can split or break. A broken bone is also called a fracture. Symptoms of a fracture include:

  • A visibly out-of-place or misshapen limb or joint
  • Broken skin with bone protruding
  • Swelling, bruising or bleeding
  • Pain in the injured area, especially when the area is moved or pressure is applied
  • Limited mobility, or inability to move or bear weight on the injured area

Strep throat: Strep throat is a disease that causes a sore throat, or pharyngitis, and is most common in children between ages 5 and 15, although anyone can get it.

Symptoms usually appear 2 to 5 days after coming in contact with the strep germ and can include fever, chills, sore throat, pain when swallowing or swollen, tender neck glands.

Behavioral Health

Anxiety: The main symptom of anxiety is frequent worry or tension for at least six months. Worries or fears seem to float from one problem to another. Other symptoms include fatigue, irritability, restlessness, trouble concentrating and problems falling or staying asleep.

Depression: Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.

Major depression is a mood disorder that occurs when feelings of sadness, loss, anger or frustration get in the way of your life over a long period of time. Symptoms of depression can include:

Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate and guilt Tiredness and lack of energy
A big change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss Difficulty concentrating
Low or irritable mood Avoiding usual activities and lack of pleasure in activities you usually enjoy
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much Feeling hopeless or helpless
Thoughts of death or suicide

Chronic Diseases and Conditions

Arthritis: Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints and involves the breakdown of cartilage. Without the normal amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing joint pain, swelling and stiffness. 

Diabetes: Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. A high blood sugar level can cause several symptoms, including blurry vision, excess thirst, fatigue, hunger, frequent urination and weight loss. 

Heart disease: Heart disease often develops over time, and often the warning signs are not obvious. Symptoms such as chest pain, ankle swelling and shortness of breath may be signals that something is wrong. If you have any signs of heart disease or heart attack, call your healthcare provider right away. Don't wait to see if the symptoms go away or dismiss them as nothing. 

High blood pressure (hypertension): Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. Most people with high blood pressure, or hypertension, have no signs or symptoms. However, people can develop more serious health issues such as heart disease and kidney problems, without knowing they have high blood pressure. It is important to have your blood pressure checked during your regular check-up, especially if someone in your family has or had high blood pressure. 

High cholesterol: There are no warning signs for unhealthy cholesterol levels. When symptoms finally occur, they usually take the form of chest pain or heart attack in response to the buildup of plaque in the heart arteries. When buildups occur in leg arteries, patients may have discomfort with walking. 

If you’re experiencing these or other symptoms, call 701.795.2000 to schedule an appointment with a primary provider.