How to Recognize Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms

It It is important to be able to recognize when you or someone near you is having a heart attack—this knowledge can even save a life. Learn how to recognize heart attack symptoms in women by watching this clip.

Women’s heart attack symptoms are a bit more subtle than men’s—the squeezing chest pains that many people expect from a heart attack may not be present. Shortness of breath, jaw pain, back pain, tingling, and flu-like symptoms may be present in women.

Call Denver’s Swedish Medical Center today at (303) 788-5000 to learn more about women’s healthcare. As a Level I Trauma Center, we are highly committed to providing the utmost of care to each and every patient who walks through our hospital doors.

What are your Bariatric Surgery Options?

Many men and women struggle to control their weight, even after dedicated weight loss efforts. If you are looking to improve your health through weight loss and have found that diet and exercise are ineffective, bariatric surgery may be a good option. At Denver’s Swedish Medical Center, our experienced weight loss surgeons offer three minimally invasive bariatric surgical procedures to help you get to your ideal weight with a shorter recovery time. These procedures include: 

  • Adjustable gastric banding. This procedure involves placing an adjustable silicone band (gastric band) around the upper portion of the stomach to create a smaller stomach pouch. By restricting the size of the stomach, patients feel full sooner during meals and for longer periods of time. This helps to suppress appetite and promote long-term weight loss. The gastric band is also adjustable, allowing the physician to customize the stomach opening to fit a patient’s needs.
  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure is the most commonly performed bariatric surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon creates a smaller stomach pouch and connects the small intestine directly to it, effectively bypassing the rest of the stomach. Like the gastric banding procedure, this new, smaller stomach pouch effectively diminishes the patient’s appetite and reduces caloric intake.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy. Sleeve gastrectomy, like the other bariatric procedures mentioned above, involves reducing the size of the stomach to suppress appetite. This procedure, however, results in the removal of 85 percent of the stomach, turning it into a sleeve-like structure.

Are you interested in learning more about whether or not you are a good candidate for one of the above medical procedures? If so, schedule a consultation with the bariatric surgery specialist at Swedish Medical Center of Metro Denver. Our hospital staff will be happy to help you formulate the best possible weight loss plan to suit your needs and lifestyle—call today at (303) 788-5000 to find out more.

Skin Cancer vs. Cancer

By: Joel Cohen, M.D.

Skin Cancer is the number one cause of cancerous disease in the United States. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more men and women are diagnosed with skin cancer every year than with breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers combined. Fortunately, unlike other forms of cancer, skin cancer can usually be seen on the surface of the skin, diagnosed, and treated before the disease becomes severe. Read on to learn more about how skin cancer compares with other forms of the disease.

  • It is caused by sun exposure: Your skin is responsible for protecting your tissues and organs from the harmful substances and germs found in your environment. For this reason, it is more easily affected by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. It is estimated that about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers (mainly Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma) are caused by overexposure to sunlight.
  • It is more preventable: Because skin cancer is most often caused by excessive sun exposure, it is easier to take steps to prevent its development. Avoiding the sun during peak hours of the day, wearing protective clothing, applying proper sunscreen (and re-applying every 2 hours), and avoiding tanning salon use can help prevent the mutations that lead to skin cancer.  (see below for links to more specific information on sun-protection).
  • It can often be cured if caught early: Like other forms of cancer, skin cancer is much more easily treated if detected early. Checking your skin regularly (once a month is recommended) for any abnormal growths, sores, or pigmentations can help to ensure that you seek treatment in time. If you are at a higher risk for skin cancer (such as having a personal history or family history), seeing a dermatologist at regular intervals can also facilitate early detection. One person dies every hour in the US from Malignant Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer as it can spread very quickly.

At Swedish Medical Center in Denver, our highly skilled dermatologists are experienced in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of cancers of the skin. We have 5 Board-Certified Dermatologists right on our campus (Joel Cohen, Mike Contreras, Judy Chiang, Samantha Stoler, and Stephen Ho). We are also very proud to offer skin cancer patients the Mohs Micrographic Surgical Procedure.  Dr. Joel Cohen is one of only a handful of full-fellowship trained surgeons in Colorado through the American College of Mohs Surgery, and he is a 7-time 5280 Top Doc.  Dr. Cohen explains Mohs surgery as “an advanced treatment for skin cancer that minimizes scarring while providing the highest cure rates to optimize removal of cancerous tissue”. If you would like to request an appointment with one of our skin cancer specialists, contact our hospital in Denver today by calling (303) 788-5000 or by visiting

Why All Head Injuries Should Be Checked

Head injuries, also known as traumatic brain injuries, can be caused by a jolt, blow, or any sudden trauma to the skull. Symptoms of these injuries will often depend on the severity of the initial trauma and can range from mild to severe. Although some injuries to the brain can be considered only ‘mild’, it is vital that all victims of suspected head trauma be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible.

“It is critical to see a trained medical professional to rule out any urgent, life threatening head injuries that may require close monitoring, medications to prevent seizures, or surgical intervention. With advances in technology and imaging techniques, we are now able to gather a better understanding of the nature of each particular head injury allowing us to put forth the most appropriate treatment option. Unlike other medical conditions, it is important to understand that head injuries are cumulative and can significantly change your long term ability to carry out mental and physical activities,” explains Swedish PA-C Tyler Schaefer MMS.

Read on to learn why it is so important that all head injuries be checked by a doctor.

  • To ensure a healthy oxygen supply: If the brain becomes injured, swelling, inflammation, and other problems can occur that may result in reduced oxygen concentrations in the brain. Without oxygen, brain cells can quickly die and cause damage to brain tissue. Seeing a doctor immediately will help to avoid any complications associated with oxygen deprivation.
  • To look for musculoskeletal injuries: A physician may also recommend diagnostic imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to evaluate the patient for any injuries to the skull, spine, or brain tissue. If there are any such injuries, they can be treated before further complications can arise.
  • To check for the presence of hematomas: Hematomas, or ruptured blood vessels, can lead to dangerous amounts of pressure building up in the brain. Once detected, these abnormalities can safely be removed or repaired.
  • To determine a treatment or therapy plan: Even in cases of mild head injury, patients can experience problems with cognition (thinking), mood swings, and sleeping issues long after the injury was sustained. Meeting with a physician can help the patient and his or her loved ones know what to expect and how to deal with the symptoms as effectively as possible to ensure a quick and healthy recovery process.

The Level 1 Trauma Center at Swedish Medical Center in Denver is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide leading-edge medical care when you and your loved ones need it most. Call our hospital today at (303) 788-5000 to learn more about our comprehensive emergency care services.

Tips for Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to better cope with the diagnosis. Read on to learn a few tips that can help you manage any stress and anxiety that you may be feeling as a result of your diagnosis.

Do your research. Knowing your current condition and becoming aware of what to expect can calm your concerns and help you to approach your treatment with more confidence. Get all of the information that you can regarding your diagnosis, including whether or not it has spread, what your treatment options are and what you can expect during the course of your treatment. Be sure to also ask your doctor about resources that may help you learn more about your condition.

Stay healthy. Staying healthy now is even more important than it was before your diagnosis. Making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a varied and balanced diet and getting plenty of rest, will help you to better manage the stresses of cancer and any treatment that you may undergo.

Accept support. During this time and in the near future, your family, friends and loved ones may offer you their help and support. Accept this help and encourage your caregivers to do the same. A little extra support can not only help you to stay positive during this difficult time, but it can also allow others to feel like they are making a positive contribution to your well-being.

Swedish Medical Center is proud to offer a variety of state-of-the-art cancer treatment options to patients living in the Denver area. Our oncology experts are committed to providing only the highest quality of medical care while focusing on the needs of the whole patient, not just the disease. If you are interested in learning more about what our cancer care center has to offer, we are happy to answer any questions. Please call us at (303) 788-5000.

Learn More about Lap-Band Surgery

Lap-Band surgery is a Bariatric surgical procedure designed for men and women who are looking to lose a large amount of weight, but have not had success with dieting and exercise. The procedure works by creating a much smaller stomach pouch, reducing the amount of food that the stomach can hold and diminishing the patient’s appetite.

This video provides a helpful introduction to the Lap-Band procedure, which is a simple outpatient procedure. The hosts discuss how the surgery can help patients achieve long-term weight loss and how the band can be adjusted to suit a patient’s needs. The differences between this procedure and other weight loss surgeries are also discussed in the video.

If you are struggling to regain control of your weight and health, consider scheduling a consultation with the Bariatric weight loss experts at Swedish Medical Center by calling (303) 788-5000. We can help you evaluate your weight loss options and determine the best course of treatment.

About Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer occurs when malignant, cancerous cells develop in the breast. Although all women are at risk for this disease, there are certain lifestyle decisions that can increase, or reduce, a woman’s risk.

By watching this video, you can learn more about what affects breast cancer development and what is unlikely to change a woman’s risk. The hosts in the clip also discuss the importance of regular mammograms and other potential screening processes that can help to detect the disease at its earliest stages.

Swedish Medical Center is proud to provide the women of the Denver community with the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options available for breast cancer. The Swedish Breast Care Program is designed to help you understand the medical system so that treatment is easy for you to access and options are fully explained. Your care involves oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and many other medical disciplines. Our approach is to coordinate all of these services, referrals and therapies for you so that you can focus on your most important task — restoring your health. We are here for you.

To learn more about your risk, contact the staff of Swedish Medical Center today at (303) 788-5000.


A Mission to Help Others

Serving others has always been a life mission for Bert Bertapelle, Director of General Surgery. Prior to working at Swedish he traveled the world as a nurse in the United States Navy. After ten years of active duty service, Bert decided to join the Navy Reserve where he could continue serving the country along with having his civilian job at the hospital. “I loved my time in the Navy. I’ve been to countries such as Morocco and Japan. It was an amazing experience,” he explains.

Recently, Bert joined 250 other enlisted and commissioned military medical professionals on a mission right here in our own country.  Alabama Care 2012 was one of several outreach missions executed to provide assistance to underserviced communities.  Supported by the Department of Defense, Alabama Care 2012 also served as an initiative designed to improve military readiness, bringing together members from the Navy, Army and Air Force. “It’s always interesting to see how we can all work together. We all brought a different tool box to the game,” says Bert.

Bert served for two weeks in Selma, Alabama. Teams there provided free medical, dental, pharmaceutical and ophthalmology services to over 30,000 men, women and children. “It was hugely humbling. Patients had tears in their eyes and were so appreciative of our service,” says Bert.  “It really reminded me of why I became a nurse in the first place,” he explains.

Alabama Care 2012 marks the first time some of the military professionals were exposed to working with different branches of the military.  “Working side by side with other military professionals was great training. Being able to help others together made us realize what we each do for our country and how we need to continue to work together,” says Bert.

Bert also received the chance to speak to local high school students about military healthcare careers. He says he is looking forward to his next assignment.  “I would absolutely love to do another mission. These type of missions need to continue to happen here in our own country.”

Signs that Your Loved One is in Need of Emergency Care

Medical emergencies can happen at any time and at any place. Although it can be difficult to be truly prepared for such an event, knowing the symptoms of a medical emergency and what to do if one occurs can allow you to help your loved ones get treatment faster. Below are some of the most common signs that your loved one may be in need of emergency medical care from a hospital in Denver.

Chest pain: Chest pain or tightness that lasts more than a few minutes, or that subsides and comes back, can be a sign of a heart attack. Other heart attack warning signs include sweating, shortness of breath, feelings of anxiety and nausea. Without immediate treatment, a heart attack can lead to permanent disability or death.

Weakness on one side of the body: Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the face and body, especially when accompanied by difficulty speaking, visual changes or a severe headache, is a warning sign of stroke. These symptoms indicate that immediate emergency medical care is required.

Severe bleeding: Even when caused by a small cut, severe bleeding can be a problem. Bleeding that does not cease with continued pressure should be treated by medical professionals immediately to avoid dangerous levels of blood loss and shock.

Head trauma: Injuries to the head can lead to dangerous bleeding in the brain tissue or in the membranous layers that protect the brain. Even if a person seems alert after head trauma, medical care is recommended.

“If you are critically ill or injured, the best way to get to the ER is via the EMS system. Because of the ability of EMS personnel to provide advance hospital notification and activate specialty services, such as the cardiac cath lab, patients with heart attacks and strokes who arrive via EMS actually have shorter times to treatment, and in the case of stroke, are more likely to be eligible for treatment. Patients often underestimate serious symptoms. If you or a loved one have symptoms of a possible stroke or heart attack, call 911,” says Dylan Luyten MD FACEP, Swedish EMS Medical Director.

Knowing where to go when a medical emergency occurs can help you get treatment faster when you need it most. When making your emergency plans, consider Swedish Medical Center as your hospital of choice. Our 24-hour emergency services department is designated as a Level 1 Trauma Center and is prepared to treat even the most complicated of medical issues. We are ready to treat patients of all ages and have both adult and pediatric board-certified emergency professionals on staff. Call us today at (303) 788-5000 to learn more about our services.