PIKEVILLE - High cholesterol increases one’s risk of developing heart disease, which is the “number one killer in the United States and in the world,” according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

As stated in the AHA “Life’s Simple 7” public education initiative, controlling cholesterol is one of seven key health factors/behaviors that can “keep your heart healthy, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, and improve your quality of life.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines cholesterol as a waxy, fat-like substance made by the body’s liver.

Found throughout the body, cholesterol plays a vital role by making hormones, helping food digestion, and supporting the body’s cells.

There are two types of cholesterol, good (HDL) and bad (LDL). Bad cholesterol can build up in artery walls, while good cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from arteries. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following as desirable cholesterol levels:

•Total cholesterol        Less than 200 mg/dL

•LDL (bad cholesterol) Less than 100 mg/dL

•HDL (good cholesterol)        40 mg/dL or higher

According to the CDC, “71 million American adults have high LDL (bad cholesterol).”

Since there are no signs/symptoms that indicate high cholesterol, it is important to have cholesterol levels evaluated by a physician.

There are several things one can do to keep cholesterol levels in check. They include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and not smoking.

However, some risk factors, such as increasing age and whether the patient has diabetes, are not controllable.

To find out your cholesterol levels, consult with your primary care provider.


American Heart Association; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health

PIKEVILLE - U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) recently announced the approval of a $45 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Rural Development (USDA-RD) for a much needed expansion project at Pikeville Medical Center.

“The Pikeville Medical Center is rapidly outgrowing its facilities and this loan will fast-track the hospital’s expansion project,” said Rogers.

“Our rural region suffers from some of the highest health disparities in the nation, but I commend PMC President/CEO Walter May for his vision and commitment to changing those statistics and diligently working to relieve our families from health care burdens. I also applaud the USDA-Rural Development office for recognizing the direct impact its funding support will have in improving medical services for the thousands of families who rely on health care at the Pikeville Medical Center.”

The loan will be used to construct two additional floors to the parking garage and convert the top three floors of the Clinic into physician exam rooms.

“We appreciate everything Hal Rogers does for his district,” said CEO Walter E. May. “The additional funding means a great deal to the hospital’s expansion project and will greatly benefit our patients.”

In 2010, the medical center was awarded a $44.6 million Community Facility Direct loan to construct the Clinic.

This additional funding is vital to meet the hospital’s dramatic growth since construction began on the original project.

“Pikeville Medical Center is grateful to receive the USDA-RD funding, which is crucial to our growth,” stated PMC Chief Operating Officer Juanita Deskins. “Congressman Rogers understands the health care issues faced by his constituents, and this additional funding is a great example of his commitment our region.”

Pikeville Medical Center is a regional facility, providing health care services to a rural population of nearly 69,000 in eastern Kentucky and portions of Virginia and West Virginia.

Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981.

With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents.

For more information, visit http://halrogers.house.gov.

PIKEVILLE - Quite a bit of progress has been made on Pikeville Medical Center’s expansion project, an 11-story Clinic and 10-story parking garage being constructed adjacent to the hospital on 911 Bypass Road in Pikeville.

Pikeville Medical Center officials joined state and local leaders to break ground on the project in 2010, and it is expected to be completed in 2014.     

The $150 million expansion will enlarge the hospital’s main facility by more than 630,000 square feet, with the parking garage totaling nearly 395,000 square feet and the Clinic totaling more than 235,000 square feet.

The parking structure will accommodate 1,162 vehicles and the Clinic will house outpatient surgery suites, exams rooms and offices for primary and specialty physicians.

The facility will enable PMC to house all physician offices in one location, giving patients easy access to physician offices and the main hospital.

Several floors of the parking garage were opened to the hospital’s valet services department in September, and construction of the rest of the facility will continue throughout the year.

Ralph Lomma, construction coordinator for the project, reported this week that the construction is approximately 70 percent complete.

“We’re on schedule,” he said. “They are shooting to be done by the end of the year.”

Medical Leader | CAROL CASEBOLT
GIFT FROM GOD: Joshua and Erie Coleman welcomed their first child, Racheal, on January 1. They are pictured with Diana Boggs, clinical manager of PMC’s Obstetrics Unit.

PIKEVILLE - Joshua and Erie Coleman of Pikeville recently experienced a miracle when their four-week-old daughter – the first baby born in 2013 at Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) – surpassed all odds.

On January 1 at 7:15 a.m., Dr. Erin Mullins, PMC OB-GYN, delivered Racheal Coleman. She weighed 7 lbs., 14 oz. and was 20 ½ inches long.

The following day, Joshua and Erie were informed Racheal had a possible respiratory infection, and she was placed in PMC’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  While there, PMC Neonatologist Dr. Todd Hambleton ordered an emergency computed tomography (CT) scan and noticed a bleed on her brain that was making it difficult for her to breathe.

The newborn was immediately flown to the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital where specialists performed emergency brain surgery to remove the blood.

“The day after surgery, the bleeding was just as bad as the day before,” Joshua said. 

The parents were informed the bleeding would not stop.

A few days later, electroencephalogram (EEG) results showed that Racheal was experiencing 20-25 seizures per hour. Caregivers informed Joshua and Erie that she was having so many seizures it was causing her brain to scar and die.

 â€œWe were told even if she made it through this, there would probably be no hope for her...she would be a living vegetable,” Joshua said.

 Finally, after several days, hospital staff noticed Racheal was starting to improve. They weaned her off her support systems and kept her on one of her seizure medications.

“The next day when she woke up, she was alert and looking/moving around,” Joshua said. “We were told she was a thousand times better than they ever expected.”

Racheal is now at home with her parents.

“We are great and very relieved,” Erie said. “This is amazing; it feels so good to have her home.”

“Without the support of our family and friends, I don’t know how we would have made it,” said Joshua. “I want to give special thanks to everyone at my work place, McCoy Elkhorn, for everything they have done.”

Erie applauded the care they received at PMC.

“The staff was wonderful and all of our nurses were amazing,” she said. “They made sure to always keep us informed about everything. When she was placed in the NICU, Dr. Hambleton always let us know what was happening, and his decision to perform an emergency CT scan was excellent. I think if he would not have ordered the scan and found the bleeding, she may not have made it.”

Erie continued, “And...she is here. We have been so blessed. Without God, she would not be here today.”

Racheal now weighs 8lbs, 12.5 oz., and gains around 4 oz. a day.

“This is a very sweet and very blessed family,” said Dr. Hambleton.  “Racheal’s turnaround has been such a blessing from God. We never want to see a sick baby, but when we do, the staff of Pikeville Medical Center’s NICU is happy to help by getting them the treatment they need.”

Since the 1960s, East Kentucky Broadcasting (EKB) has worked with PMC and the University of Pikeville to recognize and honor PMC’s first baby of the new year.

Baby Racheal will receive gifts from EKB, a one-year scholarship to the University of Pikeville, as well as generous donations from other local sponsors including, Double Quick, Care More Pharmacy, Kids Stuff, Prince and Princess and Nova Pharmacy.

PMC and Dr. Mullins will waive charges not covered by the family’s insurance plan.

“All of us at East Kentucky Broadcasting were praying for Racheal and her parents,” said Cindy May Johnson, President of EKB.

“We were so thrilled when we got the call that she had improved enough to go home.  To have the opportunity to present the family with all their gifts and prizes for having the First Baby of the Year was a little sweeter this year, knowing how desperately sick Racheal was. Our congratulations go out to the whole family, and we look forward to watching Racheal grow up.”

Racheal is the grand-daughter of Jeffery and Janie Coleman of Pikeville and Jerry and Melinda Adkins of Pikeville.

LOUISVILLE - The Medical Leader’s editorial staff garnered a record total of 18 awards – including four first-place – during the 2013 Kentucky Press Association Winter Convention held at Louisville’s historic Brown Hotel, Jan. 24-26.

“I am very proud of the Medical Leader staff and their recent accomplishments,” said Walter E. May, Pikeville Medical Center President/CEO. “They should be proud as well.

Medical Leader has greatly evolved since it was first published in 1999, and it continues to improve each year.”

This exceeds the number of awards last year by two.

Digital entries, dated from Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012, were submitted by newspapers across the Commonwealth for the judging.

The Medical Leader earned third-place General Excellence for the second consecutive year. The award is based on total accumulation of points from the number of first, second and third-place awards.

Staff Writer Teddy Paynter received three first-place awards for local sports coverage in the categories of Best Sports Page, Best Sports Section and Best Sports Picture Essay.

The winning Best Sports Section featured high school football teams from the coverage areas of Pike, Floyd, Letcher and Mingo (W.Va.) counties.

One judge commented: “This might be my favorite of all the sports special section entries I’ve looked at today. Very nicely done. Good graphics and good layout.”

Paynter also received two second-place awards for Best Sports Column and Best Sports Story. He received third place for Best Sports Picture Essay.

In addition, an honorable mention was received for Best Front Page and Best Sports Feature Story.

Staff Writer Mary Meadows received first-place for Best Spot News Coverage for her reports on the March 2012 tornado.

Judges said: “Good, old-fashioned reporting: Get someone to scene and let the people tell their own stories.”

Meadows received second place for Best Feature Picture, as well as third place honors for Best Spot News Picture, Best General News Picture, Best Lifestyles Page and Best On-Going/Extended Coverage Story.

She received an honorable mention for Best Spot News Picture.

The staff was honored for Best Picture Essay, which featured Hillbilly Days in downtown Pikeville.

The Medical Leader’s website earned third-place honors as well.

“I’m honored to work with such a wonderful staff at Medical Leader,” said PMC Director of Public Relations Laura Damron. “Every week, I watch them put their heart and soul into the publication. They are well-deserving of these awards and are already making improvements to receive even more accolades next year.”

PIKEVILLE - Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky for 2013. 

This is the sixth year PMC has been honored with this esteemed award. 

PMC will be recognized at the ninth annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky awards dinner on Tuesday, April 16 at the Lexington Convention Center.  Final rankings will be announced at the event.

The awards program was created in 2005 and is a project of the Kentucky Society for Human Resources Management (KYSHRM), the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, SHRM Council and Best Companies Group. 

“Our employees work as a team, striving for nothing but the best,” said Juanita Deskins, Chief Operating Officer.

“This award further confirms their commitment to provide quality regional health care in a Christian environment.”

This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Kentucky.

Seventy-two winners across the state have been selected in two different categories: small/medium employer (25-249 U.S. employees) and large-sized (250 or more U.S. employees).  With more than 2,300 employees, PMC is among 39 other Kentucky companies in the large-sized employer category. 

The selection process, managed by Best Companies Group, is based on an assessment of the company’s employee policies and procedures and the results of an internal employee survey. 

The Best Places to Work in Kentucky initiative is based on FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” list.

To be considered, companies must fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

•Have at least 25 full-time/part-time employees working in Kentucky

•Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity

•Be a publicly or privately held business

•Have a facility in the state of Kentucky; and

•Be in business a minimum of 1 year

Melissa Coleman, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources at PMC and Chairman of the Hospital’s Employer of Choice Team, said, “Pikeville Medical Center’s employees are the reason we continue to be recognized among Kentucky’s best places to work.  Through their compassionate dedication and teamwork, PMC stands out among the competitors and is able to receive this esteemed distinction.”

PIKEVILLE - Today, February 1, is National Wear Red Day. This observance was created in 2003 by the American Heart Association (AHA), along with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Every year, on this day, men and women unite together, wear red and commit to fighting heart disease.  According to the AHA, heart disease is the number one killer nationally and globally.

However, monumental strides are being made in fighting this disease.

Unfortunately, many Americans at-risk for heart disease are unaware. This may be due to people not relating simple health basics, such as a healthy diet and physical activity, to good heart health. 

The AHA pinpoints seven key health factors/behaviors that can “keep your heart healthy, lower your risks of heart disease and stroke, and improve your quality of life.”

 â€œLife’s Simple 7” includes:

•Get active

•Eat better

•Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight

•Control cholesterol

•Manage blood pressure

•Reduce blood sugar

•Stop smoking

“Positive adjustments in these key areas can make a significant difference in someone’s heart health,” said Pikeville Medical Center Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Bill Harris.

The first two factors above, being physically active and adhering to a healthy diet, contribute to successfully meeting the third factor of losing weight/maintaining a healthy weight.

Regular exercise may increase the length and quality of one’s life. It is recommended adults complete at least 30 minutes of exercise each day (at least 150 minutes of exercise/week). Children are advised to get 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily.

Getting enough physical activity can help burn more calories and reduce one’s weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. Exercise can also help decrease stress and increase mood/energy.

A healthy diet is equally important in the fight against cardiovascular disease. Eating foods low in saturated/trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar – while adding more fiber, lean protein, fruits and vegetables – is a good start to improving the health of your heart.

The AHA offers several tips to improve your diet, including: stocking the kitchen with healthy food, daily tracking of food intake and choosing heart healthy recipes (example: eating fish at least two times a week).

For more information on how to incorporate more physical activity and better nutrition into you daily routine, visit the AHA at http://heart.org.

This is the first story of a series. See Medical Leader’s Feb. 8 edition for the second installment.

Source: American Heart Association

Recognizing February as American Heart Month, Pikeville Medical Center and the Medical Leader encourage the public to educate themselves about the dangers of heart disease.

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions, the most common of which is coronary artery disease. Other types of heart disease involve the valves in the heart or the heart may not pump well and cause heart failure.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year, about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 600,000 people died annually of heart disease - that’s one in every four deaths.

It’s important to know the risk factors for heart disease. There are several conditions and lifestyle factors that can put people at a higher risk of developing heart disease, including:

• High level of low-density lipoprotein (or “bad”) cholesterol

• High blood pressure

• Diabetes

• Tobacco use

• Eating foods that are high in saturated fats, cholesterol or salt

• Obesity

• Excessive alcohol use

• Having a family history of heart disease

In its “Million Hearts” campaign, the CDC is challenging America to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. by 2017. The agency provides these heart healthy tips:

• Get up and get active. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

• Know Your ABCs. Ask your doctor if you should take aspirin every day, find out if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol and quit smoking if you smoke.

• Take control of your heart health by following your doctor’s prescription instructions.

To take the “Million Hearts” pledge, visit http://millionhearts.hhs.gov.

PIKEVILLE – As the end of January nears, many people may be  reevaluating New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight and becoming healthier are typically two of the top resolutions every year.

Many people start a diet or exercise program and give up due to unrealistic goals or  a lack of convenience.

When resolutions don’t turn out as planned, some people may consider alternatives to make them more attainable.  Someone with a resolution of losing weight may decide to look into weight loss surgery (WLS), thinking it will be an easier process.

“Weight loss surgery should not be considered a quick fix, but instead a powerful tool used to help someone attain a healthier lifestyle,” said Pikeville Medical Center Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Amy Johnson

To be considered a candidate for weight loss surgery, one must have tried to lose weight with diet and exercise.

From the time of a patient’s initial appointment to the surgery date, Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center requires patients not gain a single pound. In fact, candidates may be expected to lose some weight before surgery. 

Losing weight before surgery and increasing one’s cardiovascular condition will make the procedure safer for the patient and easier for the surgeon.

The Weight Loss Surgery Center works with each of its patients, helping them reach their individualized, pre-surgery weight loss goals.

After surgery is complete, a patient’s journey towards a healthier lifestyle has just begun.

Before having weight loss surgery, patients must be committed to making long-term lifestyle changes by eating well, exercising regularly and taking supplements.

This is one of the requirements.

“After surgery, exercise is the most important part of  the program.  It allows patients to improve health, increase energy levels, lose the maximum amount of weight and keep the weight off,” said Dr. Johnson.

It is very important that patients work with their physician or weight loss surgery coordinator to design a workout program suitable to their needs.

“Creating a healthy lifestyle takes time; it is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Dr. Johnson. “After surgery, we work closely with our patients, seeing them frequently to ensure they have the tools and information they need to reach their goal. We offer comprehensive weight loss surgery care, walking alongside each patient from months before their surgery to years after. When our patients succeed, we succeed.”

During the first several weeks after weight loss surgery, patients are asked to begin walking daily to immediately build on their preoperative exercise plan.

Upon the surgeon’s permission, weight loss surgery patients may add higher intensity aerobic activity, such as biking, jogging or swimming into their exercise routine.

According to the Obesity Action Coalition, “A lifelong exercise program is critical to a weight loss surgery patient’s success...exercise is insurance for long-term weight loss.”

For more information about the Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center and how you can start your journey toward a healthier lifestyle, call 606-218-4811.

The Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center is located in Suite 103 of the Grace Call Building at 1098 South Mayo Trail, Pikeville.


Obesity Action Coalition



PIKEVILLE - Have you recently noticed an increase in eye pressure?

If so, don’t ignore it.

Increased eye pressure is one of the few symptoms of glaucoma. January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and Pikeville Medical Center wants the public to be informed about this disease.

Affecting more than 2.2 million Americans, glaucoma damages the optic nerve by slowly building up pressure in the eye. When the optic nerve is damaged, it can lead to blindness.

In its early stages, glaucoma is difficult to detect.

“The only way to know if you have glaucoma is to get your eyes checked by an eye care professional,” said Pikeville Medical Center Ophthalmologist Keith Ison.

A complete eye examination is recommended at least every two years, while diabetics are advised to have a dilated eye exam annually.

There are three different types of glaucoma, each with its own set of symptoms. Below is a list of each along with the warning signs, according to PubMed Health.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Most people have no symptoms

•Slow loss of side (peripheral) vision

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Symptoms may come and go or steadily become worse

•Sudden, severe pain in one eye

•Decreased/cloudy vision


•Rainbow-like halos around lights

•Red eye

•Eyes feel swollen

Congenital Glaucoma

•Cloudiness in the front of the eye

•Enlargement of one or both eyes

•Red eye

•Sensitivity to light


Individuals with a higher risk for developing glaucoma include those over 60 years of age, those who have family members diagnosed with the condition, diabetics, or people who are severely nearsighted.

Although there is no cure, the disease can be treated. Once a patient has been diagnosed, medication and/or surgery may help lower pressure in the eyes and stop further damage.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact a local optometrist/ophthalmologist.

Dr. Ison offers glaucoma diagnoses and treatment.

His office is located in Suite 203 of the Grace Call Building at 1098 South Mayo Trail, Pikeville.

To make an appointment with Dr. Ison, call 606-218-6390.


Glaucoma Research Foundation – http://www.glaucoma.org