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Healthy Lifestyles Online – October 6 Edition

Posted on October 6, 2015

LeConte’s Healthy Lifestyles is a health and wellness publication printed twice a month in local newspapers serving Sevier County and South Knoxville. And here online! We hope you find this information healthful.

Table of Contents

Tired of Counting Sheep?
Types of Sleep Disorders
National Safe Sleep Certification Program Recognizes LeConte Medical Center
Join Us in the 2015 Race Against Cancer!
Small Spot, Big Worry
Paint the Mountains Pink Provides Free Mammograms for Community Women
Breast Imaging Center of Excellence Ensures Patients Best Care
Welcome, New Physicians!
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Tired of Counting Sheep?

Let Us Help You Get A Better Night’s Sleep!

Sleep specialist Vincent P. McCarthy, MD, is pictured outside the Dolly Parton Center for Women’s Services, where the Sleep Disorders Center is located. Dr. McCarthy is board certified in sleep medicine, pediatrics and undersea & hyperbaric medicine.
Sleep specialist Vincent P. McCarthy, MD, is pictured outside the Dolly Parton Center for Women’s Services, where the Sleep Disorders Center is located. Dr. McCarthy is board certified in sleep medicine, pediatrics and undersea & hyperbaric medicine.

The Sleep Disorders Center at LeConte Medical Center is proudly the only hospital-based sleep center in Sevier County offering comprehensive sleep care to our community. If you think that you or someone you love may be suffering from a sleep disorder, speak to your primary care physician about a referral to the Sleep Disorders Center. Our medical team is currently accepting new patients.

Sleep disorders can affect overall health, and some may be life threatening. In addition to daytime sleepiness and fatigue, certain disorders may cause high blood pressure and serious heart problems. Sufferers often experience more illness, more accidents, reduced job performance, and strained relationships. Common symptoms of sleep disorders include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headache
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Learning and memory difficulties
  • Falling asleep while at work, on the phone, or while driving (Untreated sleep apnea patients are three times more likely to have car accidents.)
  • Increased risk for irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke (High blood pressure is present in 50 percent of those who suffer from sleep apnea.)

Meet Our Sleep Professionals

The Sleep Disorders Center at LeConte Medical Center is currently accepting new patients.

Vincent P. McCarthy, MD

Dr. McCarthy is board certified in sleep medicine, pediatrics and undersea & hyperbaric medicine. For more than 20 years, he has worked with adults and children suffering from sleep disorders. His extensive background and experience in the field of sleep, as well as in the pulmonary realm of undersea and hyperbaric medicine, make Dr. McCarthy a very welcome addition to the Sleep Disorders Center at LeConte Medical Center.

Dr. McCarthy received his bachelor of science from Seattle University, Washington. He then attended the John Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, and received his doctorate of medicine from University of Washington, Seattle. His internship and residency in pediatrics were completed at Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City. Dr. McCarthy fulfilled his fellowship in sleep medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio.

Christopher M. Nolte, MD, MS

Dr. Nolte is board certified in sleep medicine and neurology and is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Medical Association. His educational and professional research in neuroscience has resulted in several guest lecturer invitations and multiple honors and awards. Dr. Nolte received both his bachelor of arts and master of science degrees from Florida State University in Tallahassee. He then completed his doctorate of medicine at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine in Nashville. His internship and residency were fulfilled at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Nolte returned to Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine to complete his fellowship.

Elizabeth Cox, Nurse Practitioner

Elizabeth Cox is an advanced practice registered nurse specializing in assisting in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. She graduated magna cum laude with her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, where she also received her master of science in nursing in 2007. Prior to joining our team, Cox spent time working in orthopedic and general practitioner clinics. She is board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Cox enjoys serving as a medical missionary in Nicaragua, and her hobbies include hiking, hunting and “hanging out at the lake.”

The Sleep Disorders Center at LeConte Medical Center is the only hospital-based sleep disorders center in Sevier County. For more information or to schedule an appointment call (865) 446-7625.


Types of Sleep Disorders

sleepy womanThere are more than 84 different types of sleep disorders, most of which can be diagnosed and treated with the aid of a sleep study. Here are a few of the most common:

Chronic fatigue: a disorder that produces an ongoing feeling of tiredness, malaise, sleepiness, boredom, or depression. It has various causes and is sometimes associated with a sleep disorder.

Insomnia: the most common sleep disorder; described as the inability to initiate or maintain sleep. It is associated with daytime fatigue and sleepiness. It is often the result of stress, illness, environmental factors, or other conditions that throw off a normal sleep schedule

Narcolepsy: a disorder that manifests itself through excessive daytime sleepiness, uncontrollable sleep attacks and muscle weakness. It is triggered by sudden emotional reactions such as laughter or fear and is sometimes accompanied by vivid dreamlike scenes or paralysis upon falling asleep or waking.

Parasomnias: a disorder that may include nightmares, chest pain, night terrors, sleepwalking and sleep talking. Parasomnias are most common in childhood and sometime worsen during adolescence and adulthood.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS): a neurological movement disorder characterized by abnormal, uncomfortable stinging in the legs that typically occurs or worsens when a person is at rest; a near-constant “pins and needles” feeling that results in constant leg movement and prevents a restful sleep.

Sleep apnea: a disorder that occurs when air cannot flow in or out of a person’s nose or mouth although efforts to breathe continue. It is caused by mechanical and structural problems in the airway that cause interruptions in breathing (i.e., throat muscles and tongue relax, excessive amount of tissue in the airway). Sleep apnea results in choking sensations during sleep and is almost always accompanied by snoring between apnea episodes.

Sleep/wake cycle disorders: Disorders accompanied by symptoms of insomnia or sleepiness at inappropriate times; associated with patients who work rotating schedules, suffer from jet lag, or have insufficient sleep syndrome. The disorders can become progressive and chronic, but can be treated with medication and therapy.


National Safe Sleep Certification Program Recognizes LeConte Medical Center

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program has recognized LeConte Medical Center for its commitment to leadership for best practices and education on infant safe sleep. The program was created by Cribs for Kids®, a Pittsburgh-based organization dedicated to preventing infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation.

“Sleep-related death results in the loss of over 3500 infants every year in the U.S.,” said Michael H. Goodstein, MD, FAAP, neonatologist, medical director/research, Cribs for Kids; director of York County Cribs for Kids program. “We know that consistent education can have a profound effect on infant mortality, and this program is designed to encourage safe sleep education and recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these unnecessary deaths.”

The new National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program has three levels of safe sleep excellence: Bronze-Certified Safe Sleep Hospital, Silver-Certified Safe Sleep Leader, and Gold-Certified Safe Sleep Champion. The Dolly Parton Birthing Unit at LeConte Medical Center achieved the Bronze Certified Safe Sleep Hospital recognition.

LeConte Medical Center President and Chief Administrative Officer Jenny Hanson presents Pam King, RN, manager of the Dolly Parton Birthing Unit, with a Bronze-Certified Safe Sleep Hospital certificate.
LeConte Medical Center President and Chief Administrative Officer Jenny Hanson presents Pam King, RN, manager of the Dolly Parton Birthing Unit, with a Bronze-Certified Safe Sleep Hospital certificate.

The nursing staff at LeConte Medical Center provides educational materials about safe sleep habits to all parents of newborns in their Birthing Unit. The staff also presents each newborn in the Birthing Unit with a Halo® SleepSackSwaddle Wrap (the original wearable blanket with adjustable swaddle wrap), made possible through the generosity of the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation.

“The staff at LeConte Medical Center has always been committed to safe sleep education for parents of newborns, and we make every effort to educate the parents while in the hospital,” said Pam King, RN, manager of the Dolly Parton Birthing Unit at LeConte Medical Center. “We’re very thankful for this recognition of the steps that our department is taking to help promote safe sleep in our community.”

The Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created in partnership with leading infant health and safety organizations such as the National Center for the Review & Prevention of Child Deaths, Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs, Kids In Danger, Children’s Safety Network, American SIDS Institute, Charlie’s Kids and numerous state American Academy of Pediatric chapters and health departments.

According to Judith A. Bannon, executive director/founder Cribs for Kids, “The program which kicked off regionally already has early adopters. Nine states are represented among the certified hospitals, and the entire state of Delaware has 100 percent hospital participation.”

For more information on the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Initiative, visit www.cribsforkids.org/hospitalcertification.


Join Us in the 2015 Race Against Cancer!

SUBWAY® Race Against Cancer Registration Now Open

Subway® Race Against Cancer logoRegistration is now open for the 2015 SUBWAY® Race Against Cancer. Be an early bird and sign up now to walk or run with us on Sunday, Nov. 8, at World’s Fair Park in downtown Knoxville.

The Race Against Cancer is a 5K run/walk that supports the Thompson Cancer Survival Center’s Outreach Program. To date the race has raised more than $5 million to support cancer screenings and education for medically underserved individuals in East Tennessee.

Online registration is available at www.raceagainstcancer.org. Registration is $30 for adults and $15 for children (18 and under) for either the 5K or the one-mile walk in the park. If you aren’t a walker or a runner, there is still a way for you to participate – sign up for the “afternoon nap” option to support the race from the comfort of your couch!

The fundraising goal for the 2015 Race is $475,000, with 5,000 registered participants. Funds raised through the race will provide prostate, skin, colon and cervical cancer screenings and mammography in 18 counties across our region. Sign up now and be a part of saving the lives of our friends and neighbors!

“My life was saved because of a cancer screening. Encouraging others to get screened for all forms of cancer is very important to me,” says Michael Holtz, 2015 race chair. “This race unites us in the fight against cancer as we remember those lost to the disease and celebrate the many thousands of survivors in our community. I am fortunate to be one of those survivors.”

Michael shares his story to inspire others to join the fight, saying, “The lovely Sarah and I saw our lives take an unexpected turn when I was diagnosed with rectal cancer in March 2012, five days after my 43rd birthday. I was treated by the amazing medical team at Thompson Cancer Survival Center, and I’m alive today because of their skilled care, along with that of my gifted surgical oncologist, Dr. Greg Midis.

“Through nearly a year of radiation treatments, surgery and chemotherapy, Sarah and I stayed upbeat. To this day we remain grateful for the incredible outpouring of love and support from our friends and family. In a way, the Race Against Cancer is one way we can share some of that love and support with others.

“By participating in and supporting the Race, you have the power to save lives.

“Please join me in the SUBWAY® Race Against Cancer. Together, we can make a difference in the fight against cancer right here in East Tennessee.”

Thompson Cancer Survival Center is committed to the belief that every person deserves a fighting chance to defeat cancer. We gratefully acknowledge our local SUBWAY® franchisee partners, our race sponsors and our participants for joining the Center in that fight. Thank you!

For more information about the race or to register, visit www.raceagainstcancer.org or call (865) 541-1227.


Small Spot, Big Worry

Plan of Action Eases Woman’s Fear of Melanoma

Vicki Heidle is thankful to Dr. Paul Dudrick, surgical oncologist, for the “seamless, coordinated” care she’s received from Thompson Cancer Survival Center, Thompson Oncology Group and Fort Sanders Regional, since being diagnosed with stage III melanoma in 2014.
Vicki Heidle is thankful to Dr. Paul Dudrick, surgical oncologist, for the “seamless, coordinated” care she’s received from Thompson Cancer Survival Center, Thompson Oncology Group and Fort Sanders Regional, since being diagnosed with stage III melanoma in 2014.

It was small. Tiny, really – about the size of a pencil eraser. But it itched…and itched…and itched. So Vicki Heidle did what comes naturally – she scratched it.

In doing so, she set in motion a chain of events that not only gave the 67-year-old Clinton woman the scare of her life, but also the strength to face it, thanks to an understanding and empathetic Covenant Health oncology team from Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, Thompson Cancer Survival Center and Thompson Oncology Group.

The itch was the only hint Heidle would ever get before the small lesion just right of her spine was diagnosed as Stage III melanoma, the rarest form of skin cancer but also the most aggressive. After the biopsy, her dermatologist sent her to Paul Dudrick, MD, a surgical oncologist at Fort Sanders Regional.

“I had never met him, but he sat there and talked to me like there was not another person in the world he would ever have to see,” said Heidle, a program specialist at Oak Ridge Associated Universities. “He explained what it was, what the staging was, what I could expect. I went in scared to death, and I came out feeling not quite so frightened because he was absolutely wonderful.”

Not only was Dr. Dudrick’s relaxed demeanor reassuring to Heidle, but so was his professional knowledge. “He had a plan. He set up a plan for what we were going to do and how he was going to address it,” said Heidle. “That is so much better than trying to deal with it in a vacuum. I realized that he was going to be able to do something to help. That made it not so much of a mystery, knowing that he had a plan of action.”

In a single, same-day surgery on July 1, 2014, Dr. Dudrick removed the lesion and took tissue samples from sentinel lymph nodes under her left arm. Within days, the sampling revealed the melanoma was also in the lymph nodes under Heidle’s right arm.

A second same-day surgery to remove those lymph nodes took place days later. Working in cooperation with Thompson Oncology Group’s Thomas Repine, MD, Dr. Dudrick then placed a port for Heidle’s chemotherapy treatments.

“Dr. Repine did the same thing as Dr. Dudrick,” said Heidle, praising the oncologist’s reassuring professionalism.

“He said, ‘This is not a death sentence. This is not good, but it could be worse.’ He took the time explain the staging and what actions we’d take.”

One of those actions was to enroll Heidle into a clinical trial as quickly as possible. The adjuvant treatment trial compares ipilumumab, an up-and-coming medicine that boosts the immune system through activation of “T” cells, to Interferon (IFN), the protocol drug given five days a week for four weeks via infusion, followed by self-injections three times a week for a year.

2015 Race Chairman Michael Holtz brought cake to share with the staff of Thompson Cancer Survival Center to celebrate his survival earlier this year. It reads, “Thank you for saving my life!”
2015 Race Chairman Michael Holtz brought cake to share with the staff of Thompson Cancer Survival Center to celebrate his survival earlier this year. It reads, “Thank you for saving my life!”

“Interferon works by mainly turning up the immune system to fight the cancer,” said Dr. Repine. “It involves one month of daily intravenous therapy, followed by subcutaneous shots for a year. During this time, multiple side effects are expected, including low blood counts, feeling like you have the flu all the time and sometimes, dysfunction of the liver.”

“It was an unknown and it did make me a little nervous,” Heidle said. “But I thought, ‘You know, if there’s a chance that it’ll be good for me and help somebody else, then why not? I have to go through this anyway.’ I was so fortunate Dr. Repine knew about it.”

Thompson Cancer Survival Center participates in numerous clinical trials. “The importance of participating in clinical trials, both for potential personal improvement and especially for altruistic gain cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Repine. “People like Ms. Heidle are helping all of us advance the fight against cancer.”

“I think I am getting a different level of attention and care because of the clinical trial, and Dr. Repine was all for that,” Heidle said. “I see my dermatologist every three months, I see Dr. Repine once a month, I see the clinical trial people once a month. It’s pretty awesome the level of care that I’ve had – it’s pretty amazing.”

That’s the way Thompson’s multi-disciplinary approach is supposed to be, says Dr. Dudrick. “If she had a problem, we’d present her case at conference and talk about what we would do,” he said. “We meet weekly as a group with the oncologists, radiologists, pathologists. It’s a multi-disciplinary conference and that’s where we discuss the care of patients who have new diagnoses or new developments, so that it’s not just one doctor handling their care. That’s pretty standard here.”

“Everything has been so seamless, so coordinated since day one. They all work so well together. They really, really have,” said Heidle.

“There are a lot of times I have to trot out to the doctor, but that’s OK. Every little thing, every little blood level and count, they check. They’re really on top of things. To not even be in the same office, they communicate really well. You know, if you have to have cancer, this is the way to do it – with all of the support.”


Paint the Mountain Pink Provides Free Mammograms for Community Women

Paint the Mountains Pink logoPaint the Mountains Pink launched in 2013 as a partnership between the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation and the LeConte Comprehensive Breast Center. The mission of the program is to increase awareness of the importance of mammography, and to provide screening mammograms to women in Sevier County who need them but cannot afford them. Since the program’s launch over 250 women have received free mammograms.

The first year of the program had a strong focus on fundraising in order to support the continued mission of providing assistance to those women in our county who need it. As the program matures, the focus is shifting strongly towards awareness.

“The community’s support of Paint the Mountains Pink has been tremendous,” explained Deborah Dowling, executive director of the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation. “The funds have been raised; now it’s time to focus on continuing to educate the community about this incredible resource that’s been made available by Paint the Mountains Pink.”

Criteria for receiving a free screening mammogram from Paint the Mountains Pink

  • Female, age 40 or older, resident of Sevier County with a valid Social Security number
  • No health insurance or financial means to pay for a screening mammogram
  • Have not had a screening mammogram in the last 12 months

The staff at the LeConte Comprehensive Breast Center has been reaching out to local medical practices, civic groups, and employers to talk about the mission of Paint the Mountains Pink. They also have been working with local agencies like the food bank to make applications for the assistance readily available.

Mammography: did you know?

  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Mammograms alone find 85-90 percent of breast cancers.
  • Mammography can detect cancer up to two years before it is detected with a self-breast exam.
  • The current American Cancer Society guidelines recommend a yearly mammogram for women starting at age 40.
  • In any given year, only 50 percent of women aged 40 – 85 years old have a mammogram.

The two main reasons women don’t get their annual screening:

  • Uninsured/low-income
  • Uneducated as to the importance of early detection

Twenty percent of American women are uninsured. Of these, 67 percent needed medical care but did not receive it due to the cost involved.

In Sevier County, 21 percent of women are uninsured (ranking 94 out of 95 counties in Tennessee).

Could you benefit from a free mammogram? For more information and to find out if you or someone you know is eligible to benefit from Paint the Mountains Pink, visit www.paintthemountainspink.com.


Breast Imaging Center of Excellence Ensures Patients Best Care

ARC Breast Imaging Center of Excellence SealIt’s a little like the Good Housekeeping seal, but the American College of Radiology’s shiny gold seal is much tougher to get.

In fact, out of fewer than 200 mammography facilities registered with the ACR in the state of Tennessee, only 33 have earned the distinction of being an ACR Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. LeConte Comprehensive Breast Center in Sevierville is one of them.

“Being a ‘Breast Center of Excellence’ is a designation LeConte is proud to display. It is awarded to breast imaging centers that achieve excellence by seeking and earning accreditation in all of the ACR’s voluntary breast-imaging accreditation programs,” explained Candace Wedlock, supervisor of the center, which is located inside the Dolly Parton Center for Women’s Services at LeConte Medical Center. “It means we excel in stereotactic biopsies, breast ultrasound and mammography.”

The designation is one reason – and perhaps the best – that more and more women are choosing LeConte Comprehensive Breast Center for breast screening and diagnostic mammograms. The center also offers bone density testing, breast ultrasound, MRI breast imaging, and breast biopsies with stereotactic, MRI and ultrasound guidance.

According to the ACR, an organization of 36,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, interventional radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians and allied health professionals, the coveted “Breast Imaging Center of Excellence” accreditation means:

  • The facility has voluntarily gone through a rigorous review process to be sure it meets nationally accepted standards.
  • The personnel are well qualified, through education and certification, to perform and interpret your medical images.
  • The facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines.

To achieve this recognition our breast center achieved individual ACR accreditation in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound and breast MRI.

With such commitment to excellence, it’s little wonder that the LeConte Comprehensive Breast Center’s staff enjoy their jobs so much.

For more information about the Breast Center or to schedule your annual mammogram, call (865) 446-8000.


Welcome, New Physicians!

Physicians’ Assistant Sheryl Hill, PA-C, LeConte Cardiology Associates, welcomes new internal medicine specialist David Vastine, MD, to Great Smokies Family Medicine.
Physicians’ Assistant Sheryl Hill, PA-C, LeConte Cardiology Associates, welcomes new internal medicine specialist David Vastine, MD, to Great Smokies Family Medicine.

New OB/GYN Laura Schnegg, MD, “talks shop” with Julio Guerra, MD, while enjoying breakfast. Dr. Schnegg has joined the practice of LeConte Women’s Healthcare Associates.
New OB/GYN Laura Schnegg, MD, “talks shop” with Julio Guerra, MD, while enjoying breakfast. Dr. Schnegg has joined the practice of LeConte Women’s Healthcare Associates.

The group of medical providers took a break from conversation for a group photo. Pictured left to right: Stephen Dill, MD; Ryan Wassenaar, DO; Gordon Holen, DO; Ihunyana Mbata, MD; Julio Guerra, MD; Laura Schnegg, MD; Cliff Cole, MD; Robert Santee, MD; David Vastine, MD; Pamela Wright DNP; Jennifer DeBow, LeConte CNO; Jennifer Hanson, LeConte CAO; Natasha Townsend, MD; Keith Altshuler, Fort Sanders Regional CAO. Front: Colleen Cole, DNP, MBA, MSN, APRN-BC, CPC.
The group of medical providers took a break from conversation for a group photo. Pictured left to right: Stephen Dill, MD; Ryan Wassenaar, DO; Gordon Holen, DO; Ihunyana Mbata, MD; Julio Guerra, MD; Laura Schnegg, MD; Cliff Cole, MD; Robert Santee, MD; David Vastine, MD; Pamela Wright DNP; Jennifer DeBow, LeConte CNO; Jennifer Hanson, LeConte CAO; Natasha Townsend, MD; Keith Altshuler, Fort Sanders Regional CAO. Front: Colleen Cole, DNP, MBA, MSN, APRN-BC, CPC.


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