Category Archives: Healthy Living

Feeling Better Than Ever

2016 George Haidsiak

Cardiac rehab helped George get back to work

For George Haidsiak, the “new normal” is actually better than ever. “I feel wonderful!” he reported on a cold day in January. His story begins when he experienced chest pains and was rushed to the hospital. “They did an enzyme test, and sure enough, I’d had a heart attack,” he explained. “They took me to Des Moines to see a heart specialist. Luckily, it was a very small obstruction that affected only about 10% of my heart. After trying to do an angiogram, which didn’t work, I was told that I could go back to my normal activities.”
A lifelong farmer, currently managing about 90 head of cattle, George has been active all his life. But like anyone in his 60s, over time he had begun to “take the easier roads when doing things.” His “normal activities” included plenty of physical labor, but not necessarily constant work for extended lengths of time. When Jennifer England from Ringgold County Hospital’s cardiac rehab department contacted him, he was skeptical at first. “The doctors had cleared me for normal activity, so I didn’t think I needed rehab. But I agreed to come in and talk to her. I thought it sounded very interesting so I decided to start the program.”
George’s rehab focused on exercise and nutrition education. He began with 2 ½ miles per hour walks on a treadmill for about 20 minutes. Along with the walking he did stretching and weight lifting and other muscle-building exercises. By the time he finished his 16-week program he was up to 3 miles per hour for at least 40 minutes. “I could really feel the difference,” he said. “As it got more strenuous, I kept
improving.” He’s continued the exercise program at home. “When I’m doing chores and working on the farm I don’t get tired or winded like I used to.”

After four months of cardiac rehab, George doesn't tire as easily

After four months of cardiac rehab, George doesn’t tire as easily

Because of his overall health and the condition of his heart, cardiac rehab was recommended, but not mandatory for George. It was the convenience of Ringgold County Hospital and the quality of the staff that made the difference for him. “If they’d wanted me to do rehab in Des Moines, I just wouldn’t have done it,” he said. “It’s a two-hour drive and not economically feasible. But this worked out perfectly for me. Jennifer was superb.”
George’s “new normal” really is better than ever. “I feel wonderful. It’s been worth it. Whenever someone asks me how I’m feeling I tell them I’m doing great. I’ve never had another chest pain. I am very lucky.”
For more information on Ringgold County Hospital cardiac rehab program, contact Jennifer England at 641-464-3226.

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Make 2016 a Great Year

2016ClinicStaff

The Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic is your partner in good health.

Did you make some New Year’s resolutions? Maybe you promised your children that you really are going to quit smoking. Perhaps it was a commitment to your wife that you will eat more vegetables and drop 20 pounds. Or it might have been a conversation with yourself to exercise more and lower your blood pressure.

Every January, many of us make resolutions big and small, and then often struggle to keep them. The great news is that you’re not alone! The staff at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic is ready to partner with you to help you reach your goals. Practitioners in the MAMC provide care to all ages.

To kick off 2016, we asked some of the clinic staff to provide their favorite tips for a healthy and happy year:
  • DO wash your hands; wash your hands; wash your hands!
  • DO take breaks during the work day. Get up and move around. Go outside and get some fresh air or stay inside and walk the hallways!
  • DO get up and workout in the morning before your brain has time to realize what it is doing!
  • DO replace your French fries with a side salad or vegetable when dining out.
  • DO make the decision to take control of your health care. Start with knowing your numbers and why they are important.
  • DON’T smoke or use tobacco. Many preventable illnesses are linked to smoking. Tobacco is linked to nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the United States.
  • DO limit alcohol to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
  • DO eat healthy. Include four to five cups of fruits and vegetables per day. Eat whole-grain, high-fiber foods. There is no “magic pill or diet.” Eat breakfast and don’t skip meals. Aim for 8 glasses of water per day.
  • DO lose weight if you’re overweight. A high-fiber, low-fat diet and regular exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off.
  • DO exercise. It can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and depression. Try to exercise for 30-60 minutes 4-6 times per week.
  • DON’T use tanning booths. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US. Wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, wear protective clothing and hats when outside and limit sun exposure.
  • DO keep your immunizations up to date. Check with your medical provider to review your records.
  • DO make time for yearly health screening appointments. Visit with your physician at least once per year to maintain your optimal health and well being and make sure you are actively preventing disease.
  • DO take charge of your life. Health is a state of mind and body. When you experience improved physical health, you will gain energy and a positive outlook on your life. Set small goals that are easy to add to your daily routine.

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Replacing Worn-out Joints

Dave Gourley at work

Dave Gourley at work

You could describe Dave Gourley as “active.” He has a full-time job with Ringgold County Secondary Roads, a part-time job assisting a local farmer, and his own 200-acre farm to manage. The 56-year old also has a wife, three children and six grandchildren. So he’s on the go most of the time. “My hobby is work!” he says. So when a “dull throbbing pain” took over his attempts to sleep, and his days were spent limping and dragging his leg around, he knew something needed to be done. After a  referral from his physician Dwain Crain, D.O., Dave met with Shehada Homedan, M.D., Ringgold County Hospital’s orthopedic surgeon. “He said the meniscus, the pad between the ball and the socket in my hip, was just plain worn out. And he recommended a new kind of replacement surgery, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing,” said Dave. Designed for younger, active people, Dave’s surgery was in November 2012, and was the first of its kind performed at RCH.

Dave Gourley

Dave Gourley is back
to work after his second
successful hip replacement

His recovery was long and Dave was anxious to be off his crutches and cleared to go back to work. During this time, he spent hours working with Ruth Smith, PT, in the Physical Therapy department of the hospital. “Actually, the physical therapy begins before the surgery,” he explained. “I started doing specific exercises to build up my leg, hip, and buttocks muscles beforehand. And then I was back at it right after surgery. Ruth was just great. She explained everything, wrote it down, and even provided pictures so I’d know what to do at home. She was very encouraging – although she did get a little stern with me when she needed to.” Dr. Homedan had advised Dave that it would be about two years before he completely forgot about the surgery and recovery process. So he was dismayed when, two years later, his second hip required the same treatment. “I thought, why me? But I realized that it was just something that happens. I’m very active, and I just wore them out.” Knowing what to expect, Dave started seriously exercising to prepare for the surgery. He recovered more quickly and was able to return to work sooner.

“I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Homedan, the surgical staff and the nursing staff,” said Dave. “People in this community ought to be so proud. With the staff and the doctors, I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about. I’ve got nothing against Des Moines, but the fact that I was having the surgeries at home meant so much. It was comforting, and in my opinion, that helps with recovery.”

Dave’s shoulder bothers him from an old high-school wrestling injury. And his knee “sounds like it has gravel in it.” But he knows he can continue to get quality care at Ringgold County Hospital. He jokes, “As long as they keep making replacement parts, I know I’ll be ok!”

6 Steps to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk

Cancer is often unpredictable, but there are things everyone can do to help reduce their cancer risk or improve their chances of beating the disease if they do get it. What’s more, some of those same behaviors can also help lower your risk for other serious diseases, and boost your odds of living a longer, healthier life.

  1. Get regular cancer screenings.
    Regular screening tests can catch some cancers early, when they’re small, have not spread, and are easier to treat.
  2. Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
    Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many cancers, including breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, esophagus, and
    pancreatic cancer.
  3. Exercise regularly.
    Physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, endometrium, prostate, and colon cancer. It also reduces the risk of other serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
  4. Eat a healthy diet.
    Studies show that eating a lot of different vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and fish or poultry is linked with a lower risk of developing certain cancers. On the other hand, eating more processed and red meat is linked with a higher risk of developing
    certain cancers.
  5. Avoid tobacco.
    Tobacco use in the US is responsible for nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths – about 480,000 early deaths each year. About 80%
    of lung cancer deaths and 30% of all cancer deaths are caused by tobacco use.
  6. Limit alcohol.
    Research has shown that alcohol can increase your risk for certain kinds of cancer, including breast, mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon and rectal cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk.

Habits of Healthy Families

  • Don’t go hungry. To stay at a healthy weight, you have to eat, not starve yourself. If you don’t fuel up regularly, you’ll become insatiably hungry, causing the “hunger” hormone, ghrelin, to spike. Then you may eat more than you need.
  • Automate lunch and breakfast. Don’t risk making bad, spur-of-the-moment grabs. Have staples on hand that are healthy and filling like oatmeal and soup.
  • Exercise 20 minutes a day, at home. An hour can be hard to dedicate to exercise, but almost every day, we can find 20 minutes to jump rope, do crunches, or take a walk.
  • Be the food decider in the house. If you don’t buy chips and cookies, both children and adults will find something healthier to eat when they’re hungry.
  • Eat dinner together every night. This simple ritual improves not just kids’ eating habits, but their grades and willingness to open up to you too.
  • Play together every day. The key is to carve out a reliable pocket of time when you can get active as a family. Have a dance party, a game of soccer, or shoot hoops before dinner.
  • Tell your little ones a bedtime story. Or talk to older kids about their day. It keeps you in touch.
  • Make sure you have a bedtime routine. A good night’s sleep keeps you young. And not getting enough sleep can be a contributing factor to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Bond in bed. Having regular sex can add an extra three years to your life expectancy. So strengthen your relationship and your health!

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