How to safely manage your weight loss

QuinteroIf you struggle with your weight, you are not alone. Most of us are trying to lose weight or maintain our weight at some point in our lives.

You shouldn’t be ashamed to see a physician over concerns about your weight and possible health risks associated with being overweight. It is the right thing to do for your body and your future.

See your primary care physician

The first step to a healthier weight is talking to your primary care doctor about any concerns. Your weight alone is not the best indicator for risk of health complications, so your doctor will calculate your BMI or Body Mass Index. It is calculated by weight divided by height, then squared.

This calculation will tell your doctor if you are considered to be normal weight for your height or if you are overweight or obese. The greater the number, the higher your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious health conditions.

What’s the next step?

After determining your BMI, you and your doctor may need to discuss medical and surgical options for weight loss.

The first step is to speak with a dietitian, who can advise you about healthier food choices. Changing your diet and exercising are still the best solutions for long-term weight loss. There are no shortcuts or magic pills that will provide you the same solution.

Some people find they can’t achieve a healthy BMI with lifestyle changes or even medical intervention. These patients should consider weight loss surgery a safe and reasonable option.

Most insurance companies pay for weight loss surgery if you have a BMI of 35 or higher (considered obese) because it is the only known cure for diabetes. It also can reduce or eliminate sleep apnea, high blood pressure and other risk factors.

Insurance companies usually require six months of medically-supervised weight loss before surgery. During those six months, patients may lose weight and educate themselves about the surgery and how it will affect their life and eating habits.

Informational session

I will share more about medical and surgical options for weight loss at an informational session set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Heart Center auditorium. For reservations, phone 270.443.0202.

– Paige Quintero, MD, general and bariatric surgeon


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Why real men wear pink: 1 in 8

Picture Bill Brown Color 08-08-12Dancing around in pink gloves feels a little silly. I know, I just did it.

It looks a little silly, too. Just silly enough, we hope, to get your attention.

We need to get your attention. Why? Just think: One in eight.

One in eight. That’s the number of women who will get breast cancer in their lifetime. That’s a couple of women out of your Sunday School class, at least one on your street, maybe three or four co-workers. It’s your mother, your sister, your daughter or your best friend.

Its prevalence can’t be denied. Its toll on our community can’t either.

Cancer, or the “C” word as some call it, has long struck fear in our hearts – and much for good reason. Some cancers still are rarely detected until they are so advanced that a cure is difficult. Thankfully, breast cancer isn’t one of those. Mammograms have been common screening tools since the 1980s, and now digital mammography – even with 3-D pictures – has improved accuracy to find cancers as small as a grain of salt!

When breast cancer is discovered in its earliest stages, chances are it can be cured. Yes, cured. Now that’s a “C” word we can embrace.

Among all cancers treated at our hospital, the number of breast cancers is second only to lung cancer. Last year alone, we had 146 new cases of breast cancer. Statistics can seem cold, but just think about the impact these have on 146 families:

– More than one-third were under 60, women with families and jobs, in the prime of their lives.

– As a testament to the importance of breast cancer screening, more than one-half of the diagnosed breast cancers were Stage I or smaller, meaning they were caught early and had the best chance to survive.

– Looking five years out shows the real importance of early detection: 93 percent of Stage 0 cancers survived 5 years; 88 percent of Stage 1; and 84 percent of Stage 2.

The American Cancer Society says women should have a mammogram every year from 40 on – earlier if there is family history. Most insurance covers annual mammograms, and so do Medicaid and Medicare. It’s a quick test – in and out in 20 minutes – and the process has been refined for maximum comfort and convenience, my wife assures me.

Bill_Mickey_BrownSo why would a woman miss her mammogram? Maybe she’s busy, she thinks cancer won’t happen to her, she’ll do it next year.

All of which brings us back to the silly dance. Our hospital filmed its fourth annual Pink Glove Dance this year for a national video contest to promote breast cancer awareness.

Firefighters, EMS and police – mostly men – from 12 public safety agencies joined our doctors and nurses in the dance. They’re not from our hospital, but they are from our community, touched as we all are by the one in eight women with breast cancer.

As fun as it was to see the bomb squad in full gear with pink gloves, they are not the stars of our video. Our stars are the 24 breast cancer survivors who got their mammograms, lived through cancer detection and treatment to smile and dance for you to a song called, “The Best Day of My Life.”

To define the best day of their lives, many of the survivors wrote the dates they were considered cancer-free. Some of them wrote EVERY DAY, and others wrote TODAY to signify the joy in living each moment.

We hope you will honor their courage by viewing the video and voting every day now through Sept. 28 at, knowing that every vote serves as a reminder to someone to get that mammogram. So there are more survivors to join the dance.

William A. Brown is West Regional executive for Baptist Health and the president of Baptist Health Paducah.

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Who needs to get a mammogram?

Kim BakerAre you putting off getting a mammogram? That may be a risk you don’t want to take. Countless women can testify to the importance of this screening.

Just ask the 24 breast cancer survivors who danced in this year’s Baptist Health Paducah Pink Glove Dance video. All of them would encourage other women to perform breast self-exams and schedule regular mammograms.

Life-saving early detection

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. It is the most common cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. Because early detection improves survival rates, the American Cancer Society recommends beginning breast self-exams in your 20s and annual mammograms at 40, or earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer.

Obstetrician/gynecologists Blair Tolar, MD, and Amber Savells, MD, and nurse practitioner Tammy Carr, APRN, and I at Baptist Health Women’s Choice encourage our patients to perform regular breast self-exams. One Johns Hopkins study says 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump.

The American Cancer Society recommends doing the breast self-exam while lying down so the breast tissue is spread evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible.

Mammograms save lives

Mammograms are just as important. They can help detect cancer before lumps form.

Outpatient digital mammography is located in Baptist Health Imaging Center at 2705 Kentucky Ave., next to Baptist Health Paducah with a separate entrance and designated parking near 28th and Kentucky Avenue.

Five technologists perform more than 650 mammograms each month in the mammography suite, which features a spa-like atmosphere and art work by local breast cancer survivors.

Baptist Health Paducah has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, a distinction awarded to just the top 3 percent in the nation for quality imaging.

 Pink Glove Dance video

You can support local breast cancer survivors by voting Sept. 9-23 for the Baptist Health Paducah Pink Glove Dance video, which reminds women to get annual mammograms for early detection. Vote once daily at from each e-mail address.

Online voting will determine national winners with cash prizes awarded to breast cancer charities. If we win, our proceeds will benefit the Kentucky Cancer Program.

To make an appointment at Baptist Health Women’s Choice, phone 270.443.1220. For information on mammograms, phone 270.575.7242 (BIC). To schedule an outpatient test, phone 270.575.2662.

– Kim Baker, APRN, Baptist Health Women’s Choice



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Women can expect safe surgery options with COEMIG

Blair TolarAre you a woman living with pelvic pain or bleeding because you don’t want to face the long recovery time and pain typically associated with surgery?

There is no need to delay treatment when you can receive world-class care at Baptist Health Paducah’s Center of Excellence Minimally Invasive Gynecology (COEMIG). Baptist is one of 170 hospitals worldwide to receive the prestigious designation by the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists™ and the Surgical Review Corp.

Baptist offers several minimally invasive gynecology surgery options, ranging from pelvic organ prolapse repair to hysterectomy. The COEMIG seal assures women that we are committed to excellence in minimally invasive gynecologic surgical care, including:

  • Safest, highest-quality surgical care.
  • Faster recovery time and less scarring.

See your doctor

The first step is to make an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause of your pain.

It is estimated 10 to 20 percent of reproductive-age women in the U.S. suffer from endometriosis, when the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. A gynecologist can determine if your chronic pelvic pain is caused by endometriosis.

Other conditions, ranging from incontinence to cancer, may require surgical treatment; but many gynecological procedures no longer require a large abdominal incision or long hospital stays.

Prolapse repair

Pelvic organ prolapse, the drooping of pelvic organs, happens to about one-third of all women. Common causes include pregnancy and childbirth, obesity, respiratory problems with a chronic cough and hysterectomy.

Robotic surgery can repair pelvic organ prolapse, using soft synthetic mesh to support pelvic organs that have slipped out of their normal positions. The minimally invasive surgery generally takes only one to two hours.

Incontinence repair

Women experience incontinence – the accidental release of urine – twice as often as men. It can be caused by childbirth, weight gain or other conditions that stretch the pelvic muscles, and can occur from sneezing, laughing and coughing. Surgery is often the best treatment.

Outpatient procedures for incontinence include a “sling” procedure with small incisions to lift the urethra back into a normal position.


Hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus, may be necessary to treat a variety of conditions, including non-cancerous and cancerous tumors.

Baptist Health Paducah became the first hospital in the region to implement the da Vinci Surgical System for hysterectomies, ovarian cysts and other abdominal problems. It allows women to go back to work much quicker than the traditional abdominal hysterectomy – often in two weeks, compared to six weeks.

Talk to our nurses

If you have a question about different surgical options at our Center of Excellence Minimally Invasive Gynecology, ask our nurses at Baptist Health Line 24 hours a day at 270.575.2918.

– Blair Tolar, MD, obstetrician/gynecologist

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Surgery can offer immediate relief for back fractures

Dr. GruberDo you have a back pain? If so, you are not alone. Back pain is one of the most common health complaints, whether you have lower back pain or hurt all over.

The back can be injured in many ways, including muscle strains, sports injuries, arthritis or degenerative disc disease. Symptoms can sometimes be relieved with pain medication or physical therapy. Sometimes more serious injuries require surgery.

Osteoporosis, tumors and injuries can cause spine fractures. If left untreated, spine fractures can cause the spine to shorten and lean forward, resulting in a hunched back and making it difficult to walk. If you have been diagnosed with a spine fracture by your primary physician, then you could be a candidate for kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure that can offer immediate pain relief for some patients.

What is kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty stabilizes the fracture and restores the lost body height caused by the fracture. During surgery, the surgeon places a narrow tube through a small incision in the back. A balloon is inserted through the tube and into the vertebrae, where it is inflated to elevate the fracture. The cavity created by the balloon is then filled with a cement-like material that hardens quickly, stabilizing the bone.


Hospital stays are usually one day or less. Pain relief is immediate for some patients, while others get relief within two days. Patients can return almost immediately to their normal daily activities without the need for physical therapy or bracing.

Our services

Theodore Davies, MD, and I offer a full range of brain and spine procedures, including lumbar, thoracic and cervical fusions and laminectomy at Paducah Neurosurgical Center. Your primary care physician can make a referral if you need one of these procedures after a diagnosis.

If you have any health question, talk to a nurse 24/7 at Baptist Health Line: 270.575.2918.

  • Neurosurgeon Thomas Gruber, MD
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Do you know the warning signs of cancer?

ModiCancer does not discriminate. I have lived around the world and seen it affect people of all ages and nationalities.

As a new resident of Paducah, I am excited to join Charles Winkler, MD, at Baptist Health Cancer Care & Blood Disorders on Kiana Court. My goal is to provide the same compassion and quality care Dr. Winkler has provided his patients for many years.

The nationally-accredited cancer program at Baptist Health Paducah cares for more than 900 new cancer patients each year. Lung, breast and prostate cancers have been the most common types treated at Baptist Health since 2008, although melanoma has increased each year.

What are the signs and symptoms of cancer?

Different types of cancer can cause almost any sign or symptom. While sometimes the symptoms don’t appear until the cancer is in an advanced state, it is still important to pay attention to warning signs because treatment works best when cancer is found early and before it spreads to other parts of the body.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are several general signs and symptoms of cancer. Having any of these does not mean you have cancer, but you should see a doctor if they persist or get worse.

  • Unexplained weight loss of more than 10 pounds or more.
  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Pain.
  • Skin changes, such as darker looking skin, reddened skin, yellowish skin and eyes, itching and excessive hair loss.

The symptoms below sometimes indicate certain cancers. They can suggest other health problems as well, so it is best to see a doctor if they worsen.

  • Change in bowel habits or bladder function.
  • Sores that do not heal.
  • White patches in the mouth or on the tongue.
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge.
  • Indigestion or trouble swallowing.
  • Thickening or lump in the breast or other parts of the body.
  • Recent change in a wart or mole.
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness.

Baptist Health Line available 24/7

If you have questions about any signs or symptoms, phone Baptist Health Line at 270.575.2918. Nurses will answer your questions 24 hours a day.

Vote Sept. 9-23 for Baptist Pink Glove video

Baptist Health Paducah recently made its annual Pink Glove Dance video for breast cancer awareness. The hospital’s video has placed in the nation’s Top 8 each of the past three years. The top winners earn cash prizes for breast cancer charities, so Baptist asks for your votes to support the Kentucky Cancer Program’s Horses and Hope breast cancer education program. Vote once daily Sept. 9-23 at

  • Oncologist Yashpal Modi, MD
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Do you know how most heart attacks begin?

Trish EdwardsHeart attacks have to start somewhere. More than 50 percent of patients have early warning signs, which can be treated before any damage occurs. However, 50 percent of cardiac deaths occur outside of a hospital, which suggests many people are ignoring the signs.

Early Heart Attack Care

As the region’s only Certified Cardiovascular Care Coordinator by The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, I have made it my mission to teach early heart attack signs and symptoms at health fairs, ballgames, the mall – almost anywhere we can reach you. In fact, Baptist Health Paducah – the region’s first nationally-accredited chest pain center – “deputizes” people who know the symptoms, so they can share the information with others.

Our mission extends throughout the region as we work with hospitals in the region to improve cardiac care.

Did you know 85 percent of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack? It is important to know the subtle signs of a heart attack, so you can act immediately and prevent heart damage before it happens.

Early Symptoms

One early symptom of a heart attack may be mild chest pain, including pressure, burning, aching or tightness. These symptoms may come and go until finally becoming constant and severe. Not every person experiences the same symptoms. Some of the most common are:

  • Chest pressure, squeezing or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back pain
  • Pain that travels down one or both arms
  • Jaw pain
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 and don’t attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. Remember, “Survive, don’t drive!”

Local chest pain hotline: 1-800-575-1911

For help identifying signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, phone our Chest Pain and Stroke Hotline at 1-800-575-1911 to speak with a local registered nurse.

– Trish Edwards, Chest Pain Center Coordinator, Baptist Health Paducah

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