Author Archives: Jennifer Kellner

Why Do My Legs Hurt?

Ed Wehling, D.O.

Food for Thought: Why Do My Legs Hurt?

Thursday March 15 | 5:00 p.m. | Hospital Cafeteria

Join Dr. Ed Wehling at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 15 in the hospital cafeteria. Dr. Wehling will discuss the importance of vascular health along with treatments and options for those with vascular challenges. The program is free and includes a light dinner.

Please call 641-464-4401 to reserve your spot by Monday, March 12.

Diabetic Heart Disease

Did you know, if you have type 2 diabetes, you’re more likely to develop heart disease than those without diabetes? You’re also at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

High blood sugar = higher risk

  • Over time, high blood sugar caused by type 2 diabetes can cause damage to your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels
  • The longer you have type 2 diabetes, the greater your risk for developing heart disease

Heart attack and stroke

  • People with type 2 diabetes who reach their A1C goal are still at risk for heart attack and stroke
  • When you have type 2 diabetes, your risk of cardiovascular disease is up to 4x greater compared with someone without diabetes
  • A significant percentage of heart attacks in people with diabetes are clinically “silent” (no symptoms)

Diabetic heart disease is heart disease that develops in people with diabetes. Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can cause a heart attack, chest pain (angina), or a stroke. Conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valve, or rhythm are also considered forms of heart disease. Diabetic heart disease includes:

Coronary heart disease (CHD)

  • Plaque begins to cause a narrowing of the coronary arteries and reduce the flow of blood to your heart muscle. A plaque buildup increases your risk for blood clots in your arteries that can eventually block the flow of blood
  • Can cause chest pain or discomfort, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, or death

Heart failure

  • Occurs when your heart is unable to pump the amount of blood that your body needs
  • May make you tired very quickly and force you to limit your physical activity
  • CHD can cause heart failure by making your heart muscle weaker over time

Diabetic cardiomyopathy

  • Damages the structure of the heart and the way it works
  • Can cause heart failure and irregular heartbeats

If you or a loved one has Type 2 Diabetes, talk to your medical professional at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic about your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Don’t Skip Your Annual Physical!

Steve Smith is surrounded by the RCH healthcare team that got him on his feet again.

Steve Smith’s story is one all too familiar for many men. He was active, worked outside, felt healthy, and hadn’t been to a doctor in more than 20 years. Then one day, he “got to feeling kind of funky,” so he drove himself to the hospital. “I didn’t think I had anything wrong. I was just a little short of breath. I thought it was a fact of getting older,” he said. Physician assistant Ron Schafer was working that day. “He’s friends with my son. He sat with me while another doctor examined me,” Steve recalled. Before long, Steve was on a helicopter to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, and although he didn’t know it, he was in really bad shape. “I had to have five heart bypasses, my kidneys were failing, and my blood sugar was through the roof. I had a heart attack and a stroke while I was on the operating table. They had to shock me back to life three times.”

The medical staff at the hospital called in his family members to prepare them. “They thought I was going to die,” he said. The team of doctors and nurses miraculously pulled him through. The cardiac team in Des Moines had told Steve that his left ventricle was only working at 24% when they discharged him. If he didn’t get it up to 35%, he would require a defibrillator. When he got back to Mt. Ayr, he told Jennifer England, his cardiac rehab therapist, that this was her task – to get him up to 35%. A couple of weeks after starting rehab, he had an echo-cardiogram and he was already at 46%. According to Steve, Jennifer did a “fantastic job.” He was really pleased that he didn’t have to travel for his 36 rehab sessions. “I was doing an hour a day, three days a week. I said to Jennifer, I feel like I lose ground if I don’t do it every day. So, she said, ‘come in every day!’ It was a really good thing to do and a good thing for me to get used to. It’s what I need to do for the rest of my life.”

Steve’s a Type 2 diabetic now, so he’s keeping an eye on his blood sugar. “I have to pay attention. I watch what I eat and check my blood sugar regularly. Exercise helps diabetes too. “I’m doing a lot of walking and I do some of the exercises we did in the hospital. I have to keep moving – even if I would rather take a nap in my recliner!” He walks around the square in Mt. Ayr once a day. If the weather is bad, he walks in the hospital.

Steve hadn’t spent a lot of time at the hospital before, but now he’s not scared of the doctors anymore. At 71 years old with a new lease on life, Steve has some advice for middle-aged men everywhere. “Get a physical every year. Know your numbers.” He adds, “For what I’ve been through, what more could they do to me?”

Call the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic 641-464-4470 to schedule your annual physical.

Print & read the full story

FREE Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Screenings

Ringgold County Hospital recognizes the importance of knowing and understanding your numbers. People have no way of knowing they have high cholesterol or high blood pressure without being tested. We encourage you to learn more about cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart health.

Free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings are being conducted at Ringgold County Hospital February 5-9 from 7:00 – 10:00 a.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis. You must be fasting to take part in these screenings. Your results will be sent directly to you and we encourage you to share a copy of your results with your primary health care practitioner.


Total cholesterol
Best: less than 200
Borderline high: 200-239
High: 240 or higher

LDL (Bad) cholesterol
Best: less than 100
Near best: 100-129
Borderline high: 130-159
High: 160-189
Very high: 190 or higher

HDL (Good) cholesterol
Low: less than 40 for men,
less than 50 for women
Good: 40-59
Very good: 60 or higher

Normal: less than 150
Borderline high: 150-199
High: 200-499
Very high: 500 or higher

Check out these heart healthy tips for more information on how to keep your cholesterol in check.

Happy New Year from the CEO

Gordon Winkler CEO
Gordon Winkler CEO

Greetings from CEO Gordon Winkler

At the start of this new year, are you thinking about a new you? If this is the year you’re going to start that exercise and healthy living program, I hope you’ll find inspiration in Lori Mercer’s story. With determination and support from her family, co-workers, and friends, she achieved her 2017 goal and is ready to do more in 2018!

Our employee wellness program, “Live Healthy RCH,” is an example of how a group of dedicated people with a common goal can improve their lives and the lives of those around them, simply because they care. Here at Ringgold County Hospital, “Caring is our Calling.” We take it very seriously and it extends from caring for our patients, to caring for ourselves. I want to thank all of you who sought out services here at RCH during 2017.

Your confidence in us to treat you and your family means so much. Every day, we do all we can to exceed your expectations. I hope you each have a happy and healthy 2018!

By the numbers!
Ringgold County Hospital and the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic are staffed by dedicated health care providers who take care of this community 365 days a year. We measure patient visits, procedures, and tests. We measure hours spent as volunteers in our schools. And these numbers are impressive.
In 2017, the RCH staff performed:
• Surgical procedures: 499
• Orthopedic surgical procedures: 63
• Physical therapy procedures: 8,597
• Cardiac rehab procedures: 313
• Medical Imaging procedures: 6,299
• Laboratory tests: 136,407
• Mount Ayr Medical Clinic visits: 10,181
• Ambulance runs: 520
• Athletic trainer hours: 117

However, the smiles we offer, the hands we hold, the care we give, and the comfort we provide can’t be measured. At Ringgold County Hospital, it’s clear that Caring is our Calling.

Find a Doctor

Get News by Email

Nominate Here