Breast Health Update

Know and act on these recommendations for screening for breast cancer.

It’s something every woman dreads: finding a lump in her breast. While most lumps are benign, some are the first signs of cancer. This year, more than 230,000 American women will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer. The good news is, death rates from breast cancer have fallen, thanks in part to early detection and better treatment methods. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we’re offering the latest guidelines on what women should do to screen for breast cancer.

Women Under 40

Women in their 20s and 30s should receive a clinical breast exam every three years. This is a physical exam done by a health professional. Women who are comfortable with it can also do regular self-breast exams. Instructions for these can be found here.

Starting at Age 40

Women 40 and over should:

  • Have an annual clinical breast exam
  • Have an annual mammogram as long as they are in good health and don’t have serious, chronic conditions. If you have serious chronic conditions you should talk to your doctor to determine what is best for you.
  • Continue with self-exams if they did them before

Special Considerations

Women who are at a high risk of developing breast cancer should have an MRI along with their mammograms. Doctors use several different assessment tools to determine a woman’s lifetime risk level. Risk factors include:

  • A family history of breast cancer
  • Previous radiation treatments to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30
  • The presence of gene mutations BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • The presence of either of those mutations in close family members (parents, siblings, children)

Women at a high risk should follow these recommendations for having an MRI:

  • In most cases, begin screenings at age 30 along with annual mammograms.
  • Have the MRI at an facility that can perform MRI-guided breast biopsies.
  • Consult with their doctor about their specific circumstances to determine when to begin MRI screenings.

At Tennova Healthcare, our Breast Centers offer the latest technology for breast cancer screenings and special Mammography Screening events in October.  To schedule a mammography, call us at (865) 545-7771.  Also, make plans now to attend our Beating Breast Cancer: It Takes A Village special event on October 23 at The Foundry in Knoxville.

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5 Great Weight Loss Tips

Here are some ways to lose those extra pounds and keep them off.

The news is filled with stories about our country’s obesity epidemic. Just over one-third of all Americans are obese, and about the same number are overweight. Carrying extra pounds puts people at risk for a host of diseases, from heart disease to type 2 diabetes.

if you’re overweight, consider following these suggestions to begin losing weight.

Make a Weight Reduction Plan

Before you start trying to lose weight, consider such things as:

  • Situations that make you want to eat and how to avoid them
  • Setting a realistic goal for how much you want to lose
  • Preparing for the possibility that you might have setbacks


One key to weight loss is burning more calories through physical activity than you consume. Exercise is one part of that. You should do:

  • Muscle-building exercises, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands
  • Aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming
  • At least one hour of physical activity every day

Reduce Calories

One way to cut calories and still feel full is to eat more foods that are high in fiber and water. Some recommendations include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Lean meat, fish, and poultry

The flip side is eating less of foods that are high in calories, such as

  • Sugary processed foods
  • Fatty meats
  • Whole-fat dairy products

Make Food Substitutions

Replace high-calorie ingredients in your favorite recipes with low-calorie substitutes. Some examples include:

  • Using low- or non-fat dairy products
  • Replacing cream in soups with broth
  • Substituting fresh veggies for chips or other snack foods

Control Portions

At home, use smaller plates. When eating out, where portions can be extremely large, try splitting an entrée with someone else. Or you can ask for a doggie bag when you order. Then you can put half of the meal aside before you start to eat.

For some obese people, even with dieting and exercise, they can’t lose the weight they need to be healthy. For them, one option might be bariatric (weight-loss) surgery at Tennova’s Center for Surgical Weight Loss. Call (865) 694-9676 for more information or to see if you’re a candidate for one of the various methods of weight-loss surgery.

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Planning Your Birth Experience

Planning ahead can reduce stress during the delivery process.

A mom-to-be is flooded with thoughts and feelings as her due date nears.  But one step she might have overlooked is envisioning what she wants to happen on delivery day.

A Birth Plan

Some doctors and midwives encourage expectant mothers to write a birth plan. It can be just a one-page statement of what the mother would like during delivery and right after birth. The plan should take into account the situation particular to each woman, such as:

  • Where the delivery will take place
  • Any set rules or procedures a medical institution might have
  • Any special health considerations for the mother or baby

What to Consider

When writing out a plan, pregnant mothers should consider such questions as:

  • Who, if anyone, will accompany the mother during the delivery?
  • What kinds of pain relief will be used? Some options include:
    • Hot and cold packs
    • Massage
    • Relaxation techniques
  • Will pain relief include medication, and if so, what kind?
  • Does the mother want to use special facilities, if they are available? These could be:
    • A Labor, Delivery, Recovey, Postpartum (LDRP) room
    • A birthing pool
    • Equipment designed to make her more comfortable
  • Is there a preferred position for delivering the baby?
  • If a cesarean section is needed, does the mother have any special instructions?
  • Should the baby be cleaned before it’s given to the mother?

Other Considerations

  • It’s a good idea to review a birth plan with the medical personnel who will be handling the delivery. They’ll know if something isn’t practical or make suggestions for other items to include.
  • Some mothers write up a plan based on a normal delivery and postnatal situation, then add a second page for their wishes if complications develop.
  • The plan can include whether or not the mother will breastfeed from birth.

At Tennova Healthcare, we’re proud of the care we offer pregnant mothers during the birth process. The Labor and Delivery Center at Physicians Regional Medical Center has the region’s only certified nurse midwives. Two other hospitals in our system also offer comprehensive maternity care: Newport Medical Center and Turkey Creek Medical Center. Pregnant women looking for an obstetrician referral can call us at (855) 836-6682.

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Know the Signs of a Heart Attack

Knowing the signs and calling 911 can save a life.

A leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease, and a common sign of it is a heart attack. More than 700,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year–that's one about every 34 seconds. By knowing the symptoms of a heart attack and taking fast action, a person can survive and thrive after one occurs.

Major Signs of a Heart Attack

While the symptoms are not the same for everyone, the most common signs of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or discomfort anywhere across the chest; the pain can last for a few minutes or come and go
  • Pain or discomfort in any of these areas of the upper body, with or without chest discomfort:

    • Neck
    • Jaw
    • One or both arms
    • Back
    • Shoulders
    • Upper part of the stomach
  • Shortness of breath; characteristics of this symptom include:

    • It may be the only symptom.
    • It may arise before or along with chest pain or discomfort.
    • It can happen when a person is at rest or doing only light physical activity.

Other Signs

These include:

  • Light-headedness or sudden dizziness
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Feeling unusually tired for no reason
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in existing symptoms, such as symptoms becoming stronger or lasting longer than usual

Heart Attack Symptoms and Women

While many women experience chest pain and discomfort during a heart attack, some do not. They’re more apt to feel the other symptoms, particularly:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Back or jaw pain
  • Unusual tiredness that lasts for days

Other Considerations

  • The symptoms of a heart attack can be mild and may come and go over several hours.
  • The symptoms can develop over a period of days or even weeks.
  • People with diabetes who experience a heart attack may have no or only mild symptoms.
  • A person undergoing a second heart attack may not have the same symptoms as with the first one.
  • Call 911 if someone is experiencing chest pain or other heart attack symptoms.

At Tennova Healthcare, Tennova Cardiology team offers the latest treatment for all kinds of heart disease and helps with rehabilitation after a heart attack. If you need help scheduling an appointment with any of Tennova’s doctors, call 1-855-836-6682.

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Tips on Preventing Falls

Protect yourself and loved ones against the danger of falls.

Whether it starts with a slip, a trip, or a stumble, a fall can lead to serious injuries, especially among the elderly. Each year, one in three U.S. adults over 65 experiences a fall, and falls are the leading cause of injury, both fatal and nonfatal, for that age group. Here are some ways you can reduce the risk of falls.

Fall-proof Your Home

Some things you can do around the house to reduce the chance of falls include:

  • Keeping floors clear of clutter
  • Installing nightlights in the paths from bedrooms to bathrooms
  • Moving furniture that blocks pathways
  • Storing boxes away from doorways and halls
  • Immediately replacing loose floorboards or damaged tiles
  • Running electrical cords away from pathways
  • Installing motion-detection light switches
  • Installing grab rails near toilets and in bathtubs
  • Removing area rugs or using non-skid rugs
  • Installing hand rails on either side of stairways
  • Immediately wiping up spills on floors
  • Putting non-slip mats inside showers and tubs
  • Storing foods and other daily items where they are easily accessible and don’t require using a step stool to reach
  • Never standing on a chair or other piece of furniture to reach something

Fall-proof Outside Your Home

Some of the safety prevention measures you can take outdoors include:

Make Lifestyle Changes

Staying in overall good health and making certain lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of falls. Some of these steps include:

  • Getting regular eye exams
  • Doing exercises that increase bone strength, such as:

    • Walking
    • Jogging
    • Dancing
    • Lifting weights
  • Doing exercises that improve balance, such as tai chi
  • Always wearing shoes or slippers
  • Wearing sunglasses when walking outdoors
  • Learning about possible side effects from medication that might cause fatigue or dizziness
  • Not drinking alcohol in excess

Even by taking all these steps, someone can fall in or around your home. If an accidental fall occurs, the staff at Tennova Healthcare’s six Knoxville-area Emergency Departments are ready to help. For non-emergency medical needs, call 1-855-836-6682 for help scheduling an appointment.

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What You Should Know About Heat Stroke

With the summer comes an increased risk of this potentially deadly condition.

While most people enjoy the warm summer months, you can get too much of a good thing. During extreme heat and humidity, the risk of a heat stroke rises.

What Is Heat Stroke?

Of all the physical problems associated with excessive heat, heat stroke is the worst. With a heat stroke, the body loses the ability to regulate its own temperature. As body temperature soars, so does the risk of permanent injury to organs or even death.

While commonly associated with climatic conditions and not drinking enough fluids, these actions and conditions can also play a role:

  • Exercising or working extremely hard
  • Wearing heavy clothing
  • Having certain health problems, such heart disease, obesity, and alcoholism
  • Taking certain medications, such as diuretics

Some basic steps for preventing heat stroke include:

  • Avoiding physical activity outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wearing light, loose-fitting clothes
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Avoiding caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages


Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Hot, dry, red skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Hallucinations
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Fever of more than 104° F
  • Unconsciousness

First Aid

If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911, then take these steps for immediate treatment:

  • Put the person in a cool, shady spot.
  • Soak his/her clothes in water or spray cold water over the body.
  • If possible, place the entire body in cool water.
  • Fan the body.
  • If they’re available, place ice packs on the person's neck, head, armpits, and groin.
  • If the person begins to shiver, slow the treatment, as shivering raises the body’s temperature.

Cars and Kids

Heatstroke can strike children who are left unattended in cars. In just the first half of 2014, more than a dozen U.S. kids left in cars died from heat stroke. The message is clear: Never leave children alone in a car. And if you see an unattended child in a car, call 911.

At Tennova Healthcare, we know how serious heat-related disorders can be. Our Emergency Departments are ready to help when the heat become too much. For other conditions that don’t need immediate care, call us at 1-855-836-6682 for help scheduling an appointment.

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Prostate Health: What Men (& Women) Need to Know

This small gland in men can pose serious health problems.

Men—and the women who love them—should learn about possible medical concerns associated with the prostate gland. Located near the bladder, the prostate is part of the male reproductive system. Depending on their age, millions of men face three major prostate health problems.


This inflammation or irritation of the prostate is most common in men under 50. Symptoms include:

  • A burning feeling during urination
  • Feeling the urge to urinate frequently
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

Depending on the cause of the inflammation, a doctor might prescribe antibiotics, warm baths, or alpha blockers.

Enlarged Prostate

An enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is common among many men over 50. As they age, their prostate enlarges, and this puts pressure on the urethra. Symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Trouble starting the urine stream
  • Decreased pressure of the stream
  • Pushing or straining to urinate
  • Feeling that the bladder is not empty, even after done urinating
  • Dribbling after urination ends

Treatments for BPH include:

  • Taking alpha blockers or other prescription medications
  • Several forms of low-level radiation
  • Surgery

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is another concern for men over 50, especially given how common it is. Almost 15 percent of American men will develop the disease. But it is also treatable if caught early and often progresses very slowly, so many doctors recommend “watchful waiting” before trying treatments with possible extreme side effects.

Some of the risk factors for prostate cancer include:

  • Race – African Americans are more likely to develop it
  • Family history of the disease
  • A diet high in red meat and dairy products

Recommendations for screening for prostate cancer with either a digital exam or the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test recently changed. Between the ages of 40 and 54, men without high risk factors generally don't need to be screened so be sure to discuss your risk factor with your doctor. Men over 55 or who have special concerns should discuss the possible pluses and minues of screening with their doctors.

At Tennova Healthcare, we know the concerns many men have about prostate health–and often the women in their lives share it. That’s why our Women’s Health Extra program is offering a session on prostate health on June 26. Call 855-836-6682 for more information.

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Tips on Getting Fit and Avoiding Injuries (Be Careful, Weekend Warriors)

Take precautions so your exercise session doesn’t lead to any pain or strain.

Maybe you’ve been seriously pursuing physical fitness for years. Maybe you’re just starting a regular exercise regimen to help you get fit. Regardless of your experience level, you run the risk of injuring yourself—if you’re not careful about the exercises you do and how you do them. Here are some tips for avoiding injury when you exercise.

For Runners

Warming up not only helps prevent injury. It also keeps you from getting going too fast and burning out during your run.  Warm ups can include:

  • Walking gently for a few minutes
  • Jogging
  • Running in several short bursts of about 100 yards
  • Dynamic stretching, which can include:

    • Skipping
    • Side stepping
    • Imitating the leg lifts used to play hackey-sack

Other steps runners can take to reduce the risk of injury include:

  • Run on soft surfaces.
  • Rest one or two days between running sessions.
  • Strengthen leg muscles through exercise.

For Weightlifters

Weightlifters can get some serious injuries if they’re not careful. Some of them include:

  • Joint dislocations
  • Back strain
  • Muscle tears

Even less serious injuries are no fun, but they can be avoided by:

  • Stretching before working out
  • Doing exercises designed to improve core strength, such as planks or bridges, or exercises with a stability ball
  • Learning the correct form from a trainer
  • Paying attention to any strange clicking or popping noises in joints and getting them checked out

Some General Tips

No matter what kind of exercise you enjoy, doing these things can help you avoid injury:

  • Warm up before starting.
  • Cool down after.
  • Stretch slowly.
  • Wear the proper shoes and other clothing for your sport and make sure they fit correctly.
  • Eat properly and drink plenty of water.
  • Seek treatment for any exercise-related injury.

At Tennova Healthcare, we know the value of regular exercise for good health. Our Health and Fitness Center in Powell is a modern facility complete with a pool, gymnasium, indoor and outdoor tracks, and weights and exercise equipment of all kinds. We also have trainers who can help you exercise smartly and safely. To learn more about the center and membership options, call (865) 859-7900.

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Which Type of Sunscreen Should You be Using?

Make sure you are getting all the protection you need from your sunscreen.

If you are planning to spend some time under the sun, wearing sunscreen is your best bet for preventing a sunburn today and skin cancer farther down the road. But not all sunscreen provides equal protection. Here's what you should look for while scanning your options at the store:

UVA and UVB Protection

You need a sunscreen that guards you against both. Some will only offer protection against UVB rays. While this may prevent sunburns, UVA rays can still cause skin damage, early aging, and skin cancer.


The minimum number you should accept on your sunscreen is SPF 15, but SPF 30 is ideal. Most doctors agree that there isn't a need to go any higher than 30, but it won't hurt.

Sensitive Skin

Many children and some adults may notice a reaction to sunscreens. This isn't a reason to abandon it altogether – you'll just need to try a few brands until you find the one that works for you. Look for sunscreens labeled for sensitive skin. You also may want to purchase a separate sunscreen for your face and neck.

Spray vs. Lotion

Both types of sunscreen provide equal protection, so it is really about personal preference. If you have a hard time reaching parts of your back, the spray may make application easier. You also may discover that you like the feel of one better than the other.

Concerned about the health of your skin? Consult one of our expert dermatologists. You can receive a free physician referral when you call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682).

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Heartburn: What is it? How Can it Be Treated?

Ouch! A mean heartburn can destroy the memory of even the most delicious meal.

Do you feel a burning sensation in your chest? You're most likely experiencing the pain of heartburn, especially if it's right after a meal or in the middle of the night. Heartburn occurs when the esophagus does not close completely, allowing stomach acid to enter.

Most people experience heartburn from time to time, but if you are feeling it on a regular basis, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This means your esophagus has weakened or isn't functioning properly. Fortunately, there are many treatment options that may help.

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes all you need is a few shifts in your daily routine to solve the problem. Give these a try:

  • Finding your trigger foods – Take note of when heartburn flares up, and what you've been eating. See a pattern? That may be your trigger food. Take it out of your diet and see what happens.
  • Inspecting your wardrobe – Tight clothing can make digestion difficult.
  • Timing your meals – Eating right before bed is asking for trouble. Have dinner early and stay upright for several hours afterward.
  • Sleeping right – When you do go to sleep, make sure you've chosen a position and pillow that keeps your head raised above your chest.
  • Losing weight – Obesity can often cause GERD. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about a safe diet and exercise plan.


If lifestyle changes aren't working, your physician may be able to find a medication that will. This may be necessary if your heartburn is linked to pregnancy, menopause, or another uncontrollable factor.


In extreme cases, surgeries are available to help patients with GERD find relief. If you've tried everything else, ask your doctor if this option is right for you. To find a physician who can help you, call our free referral line at 1-855-836-6682 or Find A Doctor online.

Is your diet making you sick? You can learn more about the connection between your health and your food when you attend our next Health Extra for Women event! We're meeting this Thursday, 4/17/14, at 11:30. Please register to let us know you are coming.

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