October 12, 2012

The Role of Obesity in Breast Cancer

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:13 pm by carsontahoe

Dr. Antoinette Cortese, Radiologist, Specializing in Breast Imaging

Overweight and obese women are at increased risk for multiple diseases including Coronary Heart Disease, stroke, Diabetes and certain cancers including Breast Cancer. Researchers measure obesity using the body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by their height (in meters) squared. Overweight is defined as BMI in the 25-29.9 range and obese as 30 and above.

Increased risk of breast cancer associated with being overweight or obese is found in postmenopausal women. It is thought to be due to increased levels of estrogen. After the ovaries stop producing hormones, fat tissue becomes the most important source of estrogen. Therefore, obese women tend to have higher estrogen levels, which can potentially lead to more rapid growth of estrogen-responsive breast cancer.

There is also evidence that obesity increases risk of triple negative breast cancer which lacks estrogen, progesterone and HER-2 receptors. This suggests there are additional mechanisms which increase breast cancer risk beyond estrogen levels thought to be related to growth factors or inflammation associated with obesity. A recent study in the journal Cancer has shown that overweight and obese women have a higher risk of recurrence of hormone receptor-positive cancer and an increased risk of dying prematurely. Per Dr. Sparano, the lead investigator, there is a nearly 50 percent higher risk of death despite optimal treatment. Many risk factors for breast cancer, like family history and genetics, cannot be modified. Maintaining weight in the normal range is one step women can take to decrease their risk.Calculate your BMI

Dr. Cortese is a Radiologist and Breast Specialist at Sierra Surgery Hospital

October 8, 2012

Blood Draws, IV Process Improved by Advanced Vein Viewer

Posted in Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare, Wellness Tips tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:55 pm by carsontahoe

Carson Tahoe Health now joins the ranks of other premier health institutions such as MD Anderson, Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins with their recent investment in state-of-the-art technology for vascular access – The Vein Viewer.

Simply stated, the Vein Viewer helps medical staff locate veins when starting IV’s or gaining venous access. Medical professionals traditionally rely on their ability to locate veins through sight and touch. The Vein Viewer illuminates the position of the target area, utilizing near-infrared light, a digital video camera and an image processing unit to build an image of the patient’s veins. The device then projects that image onto the patient’s skin using visible light, and the clinician’s hands are free to do the work. Essentially, the Vein Viewer takes the guesswork out of venous access procedures. With this new technology at Carson Tahoe, medical professionals can clearly see patients’ veins (or lack thereof), making the likelihood of more than one “poke” slim to none – greatly increasing patient satisfaction.

Vein Viewer technology is especially valuable in caring for patients with hard to find veins, such as elderly patients, patients undergoing chemotherapy, pediatric patients, and patients with generally poor venous access. We all know venous access procedures can be stressful for many individuals, and even greater for those who have small veins and limited access points. The entire IV process at Carson Tahoe Health is now much easier because we have adopted this state of the art technology in vascular access.

This new advanced technology was made possible thanks to the hard work and generosity of the CTH Auxiliary.

October 3, 2012

Healthy Aging

Posted in Explore Our Region, Get Healthy, Wellness Tips at 7:08 am by carsontahoe

Healthy aging is about more than staying physically healthy–it’s about maintaining your sense of purpose and your zest for life. A key ingredient in the recipe for healthy aging is the continuing ability to find meaning and joy in life. As we grow older, we experience an increasing number of major life changes, including retirement, the loss of loved ones, and physical changes. How we handle these changes, as well as regular day-to-day stresses, is the key to aging well. It’s not too late to take control of your health or start something new. Try to think about the positive aspects of aging instead of the stereotypes and negative aspects.

Healthy aging means continually reinventing yourself, finding new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community and loved ones.

Everyone has different ways of experiencing meaning and joy, and the activities you enjoy may change over time. If you’re not sure where to get started, try some of the following suggestions. Here are 10 tips for re-inventing yourself at any age. We found these great tips on healthyaging.net

1. Go for that job you’ve always wanted – you aren’t too old to be an intern. You’re never too old to start at the bottom. Many employers now hire only after they’ve seen the quality of the employee, so an internship is your opportunity to show off your mature skills. Check for college and department websites that offer detailed listings.

2. Head back to school and take the classes you wished you would have taken but, “didn’t fit into your schedule.” Take courses to refocus your career, enhance your skill set and increase your earning power.

3. Take a volunteer vacation. Visit New Places, Connect, and Give Back. Many travelers today are opting out of the self-indulgent vacation and opting in for the chance to “give back” through a volunteer vacation. These trips are a great way to try something new, fulfill a dream, or experiment living in a different place, for a short or longer time commitment. Volunteer Vacations Across America, (http://www.immersiontraveler.com/) is a good resource with more than 200 trips for volunteering to help people.

4. Get moving. Dance like there’s no tomorrow. Older adults getting regular physical exercise are 60% less likely to get dementia. Exercise increases oxygen to the brain and releases a protein that strengthens cells and neurons. Dance involves all of the above plus the cerebral activity present in learning and memory.
5. Hit the road. Travel is one of the top picks when people are asked what they would do if they had more time. Sometimes the money factor makes that dream fall apart. Here are several travel sites for finding good fares and rates: SmarterTravel.com,Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, Priceline.com Kayak.com and jetsetter.com.

6. Become a rock star for a weekend. Here’s a good one for the buck list. Check out Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp (www.RockCamp.com), where mere mortals jam with rock legends, write/record an original song and play live on stage at a major concert venue. The Camp offers a great adventures in Las Vegas for those who are looking for the ultimate rock star experience:
October 10 – 14, 2012 MGM Grand, Las Vegas. Jam with Gene Simmons, from the legendary band, KISS.

7. Expand your artistic abilities. Learn to paint a landscape or still life. Complete A Landscape, seascape, floral or still life painting. See if fine arts peeks you interest. One day classes can be found at Michaels,

8. Try a new sport or pick up on one you left behind in your early days. What about surfing, hiking or skiing? It’s never too late and there are many locations offering courses, trips, and lessons.

9. Eat fresh. Make a commitment to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Seek out local farmers markets and buy local produce. Make it a point to try to make foods from scratch… skip the processed foods as much as you can

10. Travel to the famed wine country this Fall and take a wine tasting course (http://www.ciaprochef.com/winestudies/index.html) or cooking course . http://www.ciachef.edu/california/educational.asp) at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St. Helena, CA. Or, check out the Napa Valley Film Festival, November 7 – 11, 2012. a five-day immersive, indulgent celebration of film, artisan food and boutique wines.

The possibilities are endless. The important thing is to find activities that are both meaningful and enjoyable. For more information about healthy aging, pick up the October copy of Here’s to Your Health Magazine.

September 21, 2012

Are You Ready to THiNK PiNK?

Posted in Cancer Services, Foundation tagged , , , , , at 10:04 am by carsontahoe

Red’s staff showing support for THiNK PiNK

It’s just about time to start thinking pink again…

Join us on Monday, October 1 to kick-off THiNK PiNK. Our celebration will once again be held at Reds Old 395 Grill from 5:00 – 8:00 PM with free appetizers to those who wear a THiNK PiNK Tee shirt (any year). Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Antoinette Cortese, our grand raffle prize will be $500 cash. All proceeds from raffle and specialty drinks sales will be donated to breast cancer support (courtesy of Reds).

Monday, October 1
5:00 – 8:00 pm
Red’s Old 395 Grill

Don’t forget to buy you THiNK PiNK t-shirt!

This year we are offering the THiNK PiNK shirts in long sleeve and short sleeve, made of very cozy, soft cotton. They are available at the following locations for a minimum $10 donation.

Tee Shirts are available at the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center Gift shop, Carson Tahoe Cancer Center, Specialty Medical Center Marketing Department, the Women’s Health Institute, Sierra Surgery, Mikes Pharmacy and Minden Medical Center (by next week).

Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center Gift Shop
1600 Medical Parkway
Carson City, NV

Carson Tahoe Cancer Center
1535 Medical Parkway
Carson City, NV

Specialty Medical Center – Marketing Department
775 Fleischmann Way
Carson City, NV

Minden Medical Center – Starting next week
925 Ironwood Dr.
Minden, NV

Women’s Health Institute
1425 Medical Parkway
Carson City, NV

Sierra Surgery Hospital
1400 Medical Parkway
Carson City, NV

Mikes Pharmacy
1007 North Curry Street
Carson City, NV

However you choose to show support, remember that THiNK PiNK is an awareness campaign that gives us an opportunity to educate and encourage women to take charge of their health.

Thank you for your support.

September 12, 2012

Save Your Legs – and Your Life!

Posted in Cardiology, Doc Talk, Women's Health Institute tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:22 am by carsontahoe

More than 10 million Americans have a heart attack in their legs. Are you one of them?

  • Do you frequently have to rub your legs to relieve pain?
  • Do you often need to sit down and put your legs up because it hurts to walk?
  • Have you complained about how long it took a sore on your leg to heal?

You may have Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD). Many people suffer from PVD and don’t even know it. Assuming the leg pain is part of normal aging, they don’t report these symptoms with their doctor until the disease reaches a critical stage. Be aware of the warning signs and do something about it before it’s too late. Click here for more information about PVD.

Diagnosing PVD allows physicians to intervene before serious complications develop. Just ask Kim Circo. PVD, caused by blocked blood flow in the leg arteries, increases the risk of heart attack, stroke or life threatening abdominal aortic aneurysm.

A nationwide campaign, called Legs for Life, was started in conjunction with National Peripheral Arterial Disease Awareness Month each September. Legs for Life is a national screening program dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of the community. “The goal of Legs for Life is education, identification and treatment of peripheral vascular disease.  All of these things can help stop the progression of a life threatening problem,” Mina Fiddyment, Health Navigator.

As a participant this year, the Carson Tahoe Women’s Health Institute will be offering FREE PVD screenings on September 25 & 27 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Space is limited and appointments are required. Call 775.445.5168 to schedule.

For more information about local screenings, call 775.445.5168.

For more information about PVD click here
For more information about the Legs for Life organization visit www.legforlife.org
To hear Kim Circo’s PVD story click here

September 5, 2012

Dr. Sanjai Shukla, Orthopedist

Posted in New Doctors tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:36 am by carsontahoe

Orthopedist, Dr. Sanjai Shukla

Please join us in welcoming home, our newest partner in Orthopedics, Dr. Sanjai Shukla. Carson Tahoe Health is happy to have Dr. Shukla as part of our acclaimed healthcare team.

As a fellowship trained Orthopedist, Dr. Shukla specializes in sports medicine, as well as minimally invasive knee and hip replacements.

A native Nevadan and graduate of Galena High School, Dr. Shukla received his medical degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. After completing his orthopedic surgery residency in Chicago, he received additional training at the world-renowned Rush University. There he specialized in hip and knee replacements, learning from pioneers in the field of minimally invasive joint replacement surgery.

In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, camping, the outdoors and spending time with his family.

Dr. Shukla has joined Tahoe Fracture & Orthopedic Medical Clinic. He is currently accepting new patients at their Carson City location.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call 775.783.6190

Tahoe Fracture & Orthopedic Medical Clinic
973 Mica Drive, Suite 201
Carson City, NV

August 27, 2012

Honoring Loved Ones Touched by Cancer

Posted in Foundation, Hopefest tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:42 pm by carsontahoe

We have all been touched by cancer in one way or another, yet it’s not often we get the chance to come together as a community to honor and support our loved ones through their cancer journey. HopeFest gives us this chance…

While it’s fun to enjoy an evening with live music, food and drinks, HopeFest also features an opportunity to pay tribute to friends and family members whose lives have been touched by cancer, by writing a personal message and then planting a flag in the Healing Flag Garden.

Last year’s Flag Garden touched many people throughout the year, and we’re hoping to continue the tribute this year.

“Just walking into HopeFest past the garden filled with flags was so moving and powerful to me…” Suzzette, Washoe Valley

“Having lost my mom to breast cancer and my husband to prostate cancer, planting flags in their honor meant the world to me.” Nancy, Carson City

“The flag garden…WOW!” Thomas, Gardnerville

Flags can be purchased for a minimum donation of $5 and will be available in multiple colors (representing the different types of cancer, see below for full list).  Each HopeFest attendee will have an opportunity to buy a flag and, much like the luminaria at Relay for Life, write a message to the loved one the flag is honoring.  Cancer survivor Diane Rush feels the importance of the Healing Flag Garden, “Cancer has touched many members of my family over the years, some who are not with me anymore. I love the idea of buying a flag in their honor and planting it in the garden among others who have felt the effects of cancer…memorializing their journeys.”

One of the event organizers, Kitty McKay, explains, “The Healing Flag Garden is a way for us to gather as a community and share our earnest hope for one another. By doing this together, the magnitude of our healing wishes will be felt even more strongly.” After HopeFest, the flags will remain planted as an on-going tribute. Additional flags will be available for purchase at the Cancer Resource Center after the event.

Please come and honor your loved ones with the purchase of one or more flags.  Each person’s participation adds to the visual tribute and healing impact that this show of support will have for our community’s cancer patients.

Flag colors by Cancer Type

Breast Pink
Prostate Light Blue
Lung White
Bladder Yellow
Colorectal Dark Blue
Kidney Orange
Head and Neck Red
Childhood Gold
Other Purple

For more information about Hopefest, click here or call 775.445.5161.

August 21, 2012

When Germs Fight Back

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:32 am by carsontahoe

Doris Dimmitt, Hospital Epidemiologist CTH

We as humans have come a long way in a relatively short period of time on this planet.  We have gone from massive human loss of life due to infectious diseases just 100 years ago, to where we don’t think much about the destructive little critters today.  Oh, we know they are out there, but when we get an infection, we can pop a little pill and be right back on our way, right? Well maybe not for much longer.  Let me explain.

The first antibiotics were used during WWII, less than seventy years ago.  Before that most people died before their fiftieth birthday from some type of infection.  Vaccines also took off in the first part of the twentieth century and between vaccines and antibiotics, life spans began to increase dramatically.

All was well with the world.  Then in the late 1960s and early 1970s something started to happen.  Some antibiotics began to not work so well.  The germs were becoming resistant. They developed ways to protect themselves and go on infecting.  We made stronger antibiotics and the germs became resistant to them.  So we started engineering antibiotics, super strong, invincible “gorillacillins”, the germs didn’t stand a chance, right?  Wrong. As fast as we could make the new drugs, the bugs figured out ways to fight back.

To complicate things, many new infections began to appear. The early 1980s brought many new challenges. AIDS was big on the scene, MRSA appeared, a strange new disease popped up at a convention of Legionnaires, and tuberculosis was coming back stronger than ever.  Next came; anthrax, Small Pox, Monkey Pox, Mad Cow, West Nile, Hanta Virus, toxic E.coli, bird flu, swine flu, seal flu.  The beat goes on.

But we, as humans, felt safe knowing antibiotics were there for us.  Antibiotics were so easy. We took them for anything and everything, every sniffle and sneeze.  It didn’t matter that we had a virus, (antibiotics don’t work for viral infections).  We also had the bad habit of taking antibiotics for a few days, then feeling better, stashing the rest of the bottle away for the next cough or sore throat. We thought it couldn’t hurt.  Well, it did hurt.  All this misuse of antibiotics made it easier for the bugs to develop resistance. What we were doing was killing off the weak bacteria and leaving the stronger ones behind to produce stronger baby bacteria. The use of massive antibiotics for livestock and agriculture didn’t help either.

All this leaves us today facing a huge public health disaster.  We are losing antibiotics.  Some experts say we have 10-15 years left and antibiotics will be useless.  Pharmaceutical companies aren’t busting down doors to make new ones for several reasons, mostly antibiotics are not good business.  Besides, the germs become resistant almost as soon as the new drugs hit the market.

So what can we do? 

First: We have to use antibiotics correctly. Only take antibiotics for bacterial infections, and take them as directed; all of them, every last pill even if you feel fine on day 2.

Second: We must learn more about preventing infections.  Hand washing is still the number one way to prevent infections.  Vaccines are very important. The development of safe, new vaccines may be one of our best bets for the next 20 years.

Third:  Know your body. Know the risk of developing an infection.  Stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity, and chronic diseases like diabetes increase the risk of infection.

Fourth:  Get good quality information.  Your husband’s, brother’s, barber may not be the best source of health information.  Remember, just because you read it in the paper, or see it on TV doesn’t make it true.  This is important, this is your health.  Go to www.cdc.gov or talk to your doctor.  Get the facts.

We got into this mess together and we will get out together.  The sun will come up tomorrow, and mankind will be there to see it.  Take care and stay healthy, and by the way…. go wash your hands.  Thanks for listening. Doris Dimmitt, Hospital Epidemiologist, Carson Tahoe Health.


August 8, 2012

Am I Having a Heart Attack?

Posted in Cardiology, Doc Talk tagged , , , , , , , at 10:53 am by carsontahoe

Learn the warning signs, symptoms and treatment of heart attacks from Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Stephen Tann.

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked. If blood flow isn’t restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die.

Heart attacks are a leading killer of both men and women in the United States. The good news is that excellent treatments are available at Carson Tahoe for heart attacks. Timely treatment can save lives.

What are the signs/symptoms of a heart attack?

There are many symptoms of heart attack – some even go unnoticed.  The most common include the following:

  • Chest pain or discomfort – This involves uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center or left side of the chest that can be mild or strong. This discomfort or pain often lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  • Upper body discomfort – This can occur in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light-headedness or sudden dizziness
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy

There is some disparity between the symptoms of men and women. Click here to learn how they differ.

If you think you or someone else may be having a heart attack, call 911 right away. Quick treatment can save your life.

Who is at risk for a heart attack?

The major controllable risk factors for a heart attack include:

  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Diabetes.

Unfortunately, risk factors you can’t control still exist, such as a family history of early heart disease and age.  In fact, the risk of heart disease increases for men after the age of 45 and for women after the age of 55.

How are heart attacks treated?

In the current era, the standard of care for treatment of a heart attack is called Primary PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention). This means getting the patient as quickly as possible to a facility with a cardiac catheterization laboratory, and doing a cardiac catheterization procedure with the intent of opening the blocked artery that is causing the heart attack using angioplasty and stent placement.

Various medications are important to administer around the time of the emergent procedure, but the primary goal of therapy is to open the blocked heart artery as quickly as possible. If a patient is nowhere near a facility that can perform PCI, clot-dissolving medications can be given in the attempt to open the blocked artery, but in this day and age, such is a very rare circumstance. The more we study heart attacks, the clearer it becomes that opening the blocked artery  yields the best short and long term outcomes, and the lowest rates of complications, such as bleeding.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, act fast. Quick treatment could save your life.

1. Call 911 or other emergency services right away. Describe your symptoms, and say that you may be having a heart attack.

2. Stay on the phone. They emergency operator will tell you what to do.

3. After calling for help, chew 2 adult-strength aspirin or 3 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Aspirin helps keep blood from clotting, so it may help you survive a heart attack.

If you can’t reach emergency services, or an ambulance is not readily available, have someone drive you to the emergency room as soon as possible. Do not drive yourself.

And if you find yourself in an ambulance or emergency room, don’t be afraid to say, “I think I’m having a heart attack.” If the thought crosses your mind that you may be having a heart attack, you need to speak up. Remember that getting treatment quickly can save your life, so don’t wait. Even if you’re not sure it is a heart attack, you still should have it checked out.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding heart disease, please contact your doctor. When in doubt, check it out.

Dr. Stephen Tann is an Interventional Cardiologist at Carson Tahoe Cardiology.

August 7, 2012

Dr. Swaroop Pendyala, Gastroenterologist

Posted in New Doctors tagged , , , , , , at 12:00 pm by carsontahoe

Swaroop Pendyala, MD, MS

Please join Carson Tahoe Health in welcoming Swaroop Pendyala, MD, MS to our acclaimed healthcare team.

As a fellowship trained and board certified Gastroenterologist, Dr. Pendyala specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of esophageal disorders such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and liver diseases. He has a special interest in obesity and its related GI complications.

Dr. Pendyala moved to the United States following his medical education at Christian Medical College in Vellore, India. He completed his residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch & Columbia University in New York. He went on to complete Columbia’s Gastroenterology fellowship program.

Outside of work, Dr. Pendyala enjoys spending time with family and friends. His hobbies include traveling, exploring new places and learning about other cultures.

Dr. Pendyala has joined GI Consultants. He is currently accepting new patients at their Carson City location.
For more information, please call 775.884.4567

GI Consultants
1385 Vista Lane
Carson City, NV
Ph: (775) 884.4567
Fax: (775) 884.4569

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